Once more, NASA is making an attempt to launch its large new moon rocket on its first check flight.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
NASA is simply hours away from lastly sending its large new moon rocket on its first check flight. The launch window opens at 1:04 a.m. Jap. The 32-story-tall behemoth is being prepped by employees at Kennedy Area Heart in Florida. NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce has extra.
NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE, BYLINE: NASA first began making an attempt to launch this rocket in August. Since then, there’s been technical glitches, like a defective engine sensor and a hydrogen gasoline leak, and never one however two hurricanes.
MIKE SARAFIN: The phrase perseverance involves thoughts. The group has needed to persevere by way of quite a few trials.
GREENFIELDBOYCE: Mike Sarafin is NASA’s mission supervisor for this check flight, which can ship a crew capsule with no astronauts on board out to orbit the moon after which return safely again to Earth.
SARAFIN: We have to get this proper.
GREENFIELDBOYCE: As a result of the following flight in a few years is meant to take up folks. NASA officers have vowed to place the primary girl and first particular person of coloration on the lunar floor. Earlier this week, engineers spent hours analyzing and discussing a skinny strip of caulking about 10 toes lengthy. The winds of Hurricane Nicole tore it off a spot on the high of the rocket, too excessive as much as restore. Sarafin says his group determined it was OK to fly with out it, however they by no means had been capable of decide for certain the reason for the hydrogen gasoline leak that compelled them to name off their second launch try again in September.
SARAFIN: We checked out all of the potential causes. We mitigated them to the extent that we might.
GREENFIELDBOYCE: This rocket prices greater than $4 billion. And NASA has spent years constructing it. Earlier than mission managers will decide to launch, so many issues must cooperate, every thing from the climate to a whole bunch of technical particulars.
SARAFIN: We’ll go when it is proper, however we’ll give it our greatest shot.
GREENFIELDBOYCE: All of this work comes as NASA is nearing the fiftieth anniversary of its closing mission to take astronauts to the moon, which was Apollo 17 in December of 1972. Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR Information.
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