NASA engineers on Saturday detected a liquid hydrogen leak in the Artemis I rocket before its second launch attempt.
The Space Launch System rocket was originally set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday but was delayed after one of the rocket’s engines failed to condition to the correct temperature. A hydrogen leak also occurred on Monday, but the issue was resolved.
NASA said in a blog post on its website on Saturday morning that engineers have stopped flowing the liquid propellant into the core stage, which serves as the backbone of the rocket, while they address the issue.
Launch controllers are attempting to warm up the quick disconnect fitting, which is used to provide easy connection and disconnection of fluid and air lines, to get a tight seal. NASA is has continued to flow liquid oxygen into the rocket.
The launch is scheduled to occur between 2:17 and 4:17 p.m. ET Saturday. However, it is unclear if the leak will impact the launch at this time.
The Artemis program plans to send the people back to the moon for the first time since 1972 in subsequent missions.
The Orion exploration spacecraft, which will be unmanned, is planned to travel more than 40,000 miles past the moon before returning to Earth. NASA hopes to send astronauts, including the first woman and person of color to set foot on the moon, to the moon’s surface by 2025 or 2026.