NASA's Artemis I mission, which was scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, 29 August, during a window that opens at 6 pm Indian Standard Time (IST), has been scrapped due to an "engine bleed."
The next available window will begin at 10:18 pm IST on Friday, 2 September, however, it is unclear whether NASA will have addressed the issue by then.
This mission is part of the Artemis program, which will involve a series of increasingly complex missions with a long term goal of building human presence on the Moon. Here's all you need to know.
Will Artemis take human beings to the moon again?
Eventually. Artemis I won't have a crew on board – it will be a test flight to figure out whether the spacecraft and rocket are suitable for human spaceflight.
Artemis II, scheduled for 2024, is going to have a crew on board but they aren’t going to land on the moon. They’re going to do some testing in space, do a loop around the Moon and come back.
Artemis III will take human beings to the surface of the Moon once more. After that, NASA intends to launch crewed missions about once per year, with initial missions focused on establishing surface capabilities and building a 'Gateway' in orbit around the Moon.
Which rocket is being used for Artemis?
The launch will use the 322 feet tall Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which NASA calls the most powerful rocket in the world. It is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and cargo to the Moon on a single mission, NASA says.
Which spacecraft is being used for Artemis?
The SLS rocket will propel the Orion spacecraft, designed to meet the demands of human missions to deep space. The spacecraft will carry astronauts from Earth to lunar orbit and back.
How will astronauts reach the Moon's surface?
Human landing systems, built by private companies, will be the final mode of transportation that will take astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface and back to orbit.
Gateway is a proposed spaceship which will stay in lunar orbit where astronauts will transfer between Orion and the lander on regular Artemis missions. Gateway will remain in orbit for more than a decade, providing a place to live and work, and supporting long-term science and human exploration on and around the Moon.
What's the goal?
The primary goals of Artemis I are to "demonstrate Orion’s systems in a spaceflight environment and ensure a safe re-entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery prior to the first flight with crew on Artemis II."
Overall, NASA has outlined three major reasons for why we're headed to the Moon once more:
For scientific discovery
To establish an economy based around the moon and its resources
To eventually go to Mars using the lessons from Artemis