Skip to main content

Launch Delay

GROUNDED The countdown is stopped after NASA calls off its rocket launch on September 3. JOE RAEDLE—GETTY IMAGES

On September 3, NASA called off the launch of its Artemis I moon rocket, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was the second time in a week. The cause was a fuel leak. NASA says the launch may now have to wait until October.

The uncrewed Artemis I is the first step toward sending people to the moon. NASA hopes to land a crew there in a few years. But first, the rocket needs to be tested. “We’ll go when it’s ready,” NASA’s Bill Nelson says.

The Space Launch System is the most powerful rocket NASA has built. Its engines are powered by liquid hydrogen. The leak posed a risk to a successful launch. It is now being repaired.

Delays like this one are not uncommon. For example, in 2009, five launch attempts were canceled before the space shuttle Endeavour took off.

Thousands gathered in Cape Canaveral to watch the Artemis launch. They were disappointed. “Rockets are finicky, like cats,” Vincent Anderson, from Lake Alfred, Florida, told the New York Times. “They go up when they want to.”

Stop and Think! What information do you see in the article’s first paragraph? Why does the author begin with this information?