NASA Cancels Second Artemis Launch Attempt After Fuel Leak Detected

NASA called off the first launch less than a week ago due to engine issues. Officials have not confirmed when the third launch attempt will take place.

Artemis rocket launched delayed due to fuel leak

Image via Getty/Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency

Artemis rocket launched delayed due to fuel leak

NASA has, once again, pumped the breaks on the Artemis I launch.

According to the Associated Press, officials called off the uncrewed test mission at around 11:15 a.m. ET Saturday, just three hours before it was scheduled to launch. NASA said its team made the decision after detecting a hydrogen leak that morning during the fueling process. The space agency reportedly made several attempts to fix the issue in a quick disconnect cavity.

“Engineers will attempt to reseat the seal in the quick disconnect cavity where the leak has been detected,” NASA said Saturday morning. “This time they will stop flowing liquid hydrogen to the tank, close the valve used to fill and drain it, then increase pressure on a ground transfer line using helium to try to reseal it … Launch controllers are continuing to flow liquid oxygen to the core stage.”

Their efforts were unsuccessful, and the countdown was stopped.

The scrubbed mission comes just five days after NASA canceled the first launch attempt for Artemis I, a 32-story-tall Space Launch System rocket that is expected to kick off the agency’s moon-to-Mars program. The cancelation was due to a technical issue with one of the rocket’s four engines.

NASA has not confirmed when a third launch attempt will take place, though it’s expected to be scheduled for Monday or Tuesday, depending on weather.

“We’ll go when it’s ready,” NASA administrator, Bill Nelson, told TIME after Saturday’s cancelation. “We don’t go until then, especially now on a test flight because we’re going to stress this, and test it, and test that heat shield and make sure it’s right before we put four humans up on the top of it.”

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