For the second time this week, the United States is trying to launch a new spacecraft that will go to the moon and back without a crew on board. It was a dress rehearsal for manned lunar missions in a few years. The last time people roamed there was in 1972.
The first launch attempt on Monday was abandoned. It failed to get one of the four rocket engines up to temperature. The American space agency NASA has been trying to solve this problem in recent days.
The launch will take place from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. The so-called release window starts at 8.17pm Dutch time and lasts for two hours. After launch, the craft will orbit the Earth for about 1.5 hours, then accelerate and begin crossing the Moon. In five to six weeks, he should return to Earth with a splash in the Pacific Ocean.
The mission is called Artemis I. The most powerful rocket ever built, the SLS, was built for it. At the very top, Orion is packed with craft that are supposed to go to the moon. The rear end, which provides power and propulsion, is developed by Europe. The solar panels that generate the electricity come from Leiden.
If the launch does not take place on Saturday, Monday is the next possibility.