Artemis: the engine problem that made NASA delay the launch of the new era of lunar exploration – Época Negócios

T-38 planes, astronaut training equipment at NASA, fly over the SLS on the launch pad (Photo: NASA via BBC)

T-38 planes, astronaut training equipment at NASA, fly over the SLS on the launch pad (Photo: NASA via BBC)

Top BBC subscription (Photo: BBC)

NASA canceled this Monday (29/8) the launch of a rocket that is part of a project by the American space agency for humans to return to the Moon.

NASA launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson has announced that the launch of the Artemis I rocket has been canceled as a result of an engine problem, NASA says.

According to BBC News science correspondent Jonathan Amos, engineers were unable to cool the rover’s engine to its correct operating temperature.

Initially, they had already expressed concern about what appeared to be a crack at the top of the rocket, but eventually determined that it was just a buildup of ice.

The Space Launch System’s (SLS) new giant lunar rocket is in a “stable configuration”, and engineers will collect data to understand what went wrong.

The rocket was supposed to have launched at 8:33 am Florida time (9:33 am Brasília time).

The next available opportunity for the launch to take place is Friday, September 2, NASA says, although that still depends on fixing the engine problem.

But it is possible that the rocket will need to return to the assembly building at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for more extensive work. This could cause the launch to be postponed to another date, still in September.

The delay thwarted the plans of hundreds of thousands of people who flocked to Florida to see the rocket.

The SLS, which would be launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida), is the most powerful vehicle ever developed by NASA and will be the basis of its Artemis project, which aims to put people back on the lunar surface after 50 minutes. years old.

The lunar mission will lay the groundwork for flights to Mars in the 2040s.

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Your job will be to propel a test capsule, called Orion, away from Earth.

This spacecraft will circle the Moon in a great arc before returning home for a swim in the Pacific Ocean in six weeks.

Orion has no crew at this time, but assuming all the hardware works as it should, the astronauts will embark on a future series of increasingly complex missions, starting in 2024.

“Everything we’re doing with this Artemis I flight, we’re evaluating what we can prove and what we can demonstrate that will reduce the risk to the manned Artemis II mission,” explained NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik ahead of launch.

bbc (Photo: bbc)

Analysis by Rebecca Morelle, Science Editor
Is Artemis the Apollo for a new generation?

In 1969, when Neil Armstrong (130-2012) and Buzz Aldrin took their first small steps on the Moon, ushered in a golden age of space exploration. The Apollo program transformed the way we view our planet and ourselves. Now, 50 years later, the Moon is once again in humanity’s sights. And for those who have never witnessed the Apollo missions for themselves, the hope is that Artemis will inspire a new generation.

The new missions will be different. NASA is planning to land the first woman and first black person on the Moon — showing that space exploration is open to everyone. And the lunar surface is just the beginning. NASA’s ambition goes even further; her eyes are on Mars. And this is really going to be a giant leap to experience.

Launch plans called for the SLS to pull 39.1 meganewtons (8.8 million pounds) of thrust from the platform. That’s nearly 15% more than the Saturn V rockets that sent Apollo astronauts on their way to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Put another way, the SLS’s engines could power the equivalent of nearly 60 supersonic Concorde jets at takeoff.

“This rocket is bigger, louder and more impressive than any you’ve ever seen before,” said Lorna Kenna, vice president of the Jacobs Space Operations Group, a major contractor for Kennedy. “There’s nothing like feeling sound—not just hearing it, but feeling it pass through you.”

The main objective of the mission actually comes right at the end.

Engineers are more concerned about seeing Orion’s heat shield deal with the extreme temperatures it will encounter upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Orion will arrive very fast — at 38,000 km/h (24,000 mph), or 32 times the speed of sound.

“Even the carbon-reinforced carbon that protected the shuttle was only good for about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,600°C),” said Mike Hawes, Orion program manager at aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

“Now we’re getting over 4,000 degrees (2,200°C). We’re back to Apollo ablative material called Avcoat. It’s blocky, with a fill, and testing that is a high priority.”

bbc (Photo: bbc)

This mission is a big moment not just for NASA, but for the European Space Agency. She provided the service module for Orion. This is the rear section that pushes the capsule through space. It is a contribution that Europe hopes will lead to its citizens being included in future trips to the surface of the Moon.

Missions to Artemis IX are being planned. At this stage, there should be roving vehicles on the Moon for astronauts to use.

But ultimately, Artemis is seen as a proving ground to get people to Mars.

“The timeline for this was set by President Obama. He said 2033,” recalled NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Each successive administration has supported the program and the realistic timeframe I’m now told is the late 2030s, maybe 2040.”

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