Technical issues caused delays on Saturday and eventually robbed spectators in Cape Canaveral, Florida — and around the country — of something Americans haven't seen in more than 50 years: a launch to kick off a NASA program to send humans to the moon. A similar situation unfolded during the first launch attempt on Monday, Aug. 29.
The space agency's attempt for a rescheduled launch of the crewless Orion capsule on Saturday afternoon was first halted at about 9 a.m. ET as engineers began attempting to fix a hydrogen fuel leak in the engine section at the rocket's bottom.
When the launch team could not successfully stop the leak, NASA officials scrubbed the Saturday liftoff at about 11:20 a.m. EDT.
The NASA rocket had been set to launch the Artemis I mission on Monday from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, the same launch site that saw the Apollo missions send humans to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s.
Artemis I is the first in a series of missions over the coming years with the goal of putting astronauts on the moon again and lay a foundation for sending humans to Mars, NASA has said.
Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and the launch team were faced with another hydrogen fuel leak. Monday's attempt was also cancelled due to escaping hydrogen, but Saturday's came on another part of the 322-foot rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA.
Artemis Mission Manager Michael Serafin said the leak earlier this week "was a manageable leak. This was not a manageable leak.”