NASA readies for Saturday moon rocket launch attempt

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, United States: The stars appear to be aligned for NASA’s moon rocket to finally blast off on Saturday (Sep 3), with weather forecasts favourable and technical issues that postponed the launch earlier this week resolved.

Liftoff is scheduled for 2.17 pm local time (Sunday, 2.17am, Singapore time) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the potential for up to a two-hour delay if necessary.

The chance for favourable weather conditions within that window sat at 60 per cent on Thursday evening.

“The weather looks good”, and isn’t expected to be a “showstopper”, forecast analyst Melody Lovin said at a press conference.

NASA has also been working to correct the technical difficulties that lead to the last-minute delay of the launch during its originally scheduled window on Monday.

At first, it seemed that one of the rocket’s four main engines was too hot, though it turned out just to be a reading from a “bad sensor”, the rocket’s programme manager John Honeycutt said on Thursday.

In the future, the incorrect information will simply be ignored.

Then a fuel tank leak had to be patched.

“We were able to find what we believe is the source of the leak and correct that,” launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said.