Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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NASA chief reflects on Monday’s scrubbed rocket launch

NASA chief Bill Nelson has been speaking out about the space agency’s decision to cancel the inaugural launch of its next-generation rocket on Monday after engineers spotted a problem with one of its engines just 40 minutes before it was scheduled to take place. to take off from Kennedy Space in Florida. Center.

“We don’t pitch until he’s good,” Nelson said in to interview which he gave shortly after the unmanned rocket flight was filed Monday morning.

Nelson, who flew into orbit aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1986, said: “There are certain guidelines, and I think it’s illustrative that this is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system, and all of those things have to work.”

He added: “You don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go.”

Few would dispute that, but it’s currently unclear exactly when the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will make its maiden flight. The next launch window opens on Friday, September 3, but NASA engineers first have to resolve the engine issue that forced the team to cancel Monday’s launch. A decision is likely to be announced at a NASA media conference call at 6 pm ET on Tuesday, August 30.

Nelson noted that his own space shuttle flight 36 years ago was scrubbed four times before it finally flew into the sky.

“The fifth attempt was a flawless mission,” said the NASA chief. “We know that if we had thrown in any of those scrubs, it wouldn’t have been a good day.”

Nelson continued: “It’s just part of the space business and it’s part of a test flight in particular. We are stressing and testing this rocket and spacecraft in a way that you would never do with a human crew on board, that is the purpose of a test flight.”

Acknowledging the stellar efforts of the mission launch team, Nelson said, “I want them to know that they are doing the perfect job that they always do. They’re taking the opportunity, while the vehicle still has fuel, to solve this problem, and they’re going to solve it, get to the bottom of it, fix it, and then blow it up.”

When the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built blasts off, it will propel the Orion spacecraft to the moon in a key test flight that will eventually lead to a manned landing on the lunar surface, possibly in just a few years. now. After that, NASA wants to build a long-term lunar base and use what it learns from lunar missions to send the first astronauts to Mars, possibly in the 2030s.

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