NASA postpones Moon rocket launch

Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

NASA has postponed for at least four days the debut test flight of its next-generation moon megarocket.

Technical problems scuppered the launch of the first rocket in NASA's Artemis project, a planned six-week uncrewed voyage around the moon and back 50 years after Apollo's last lunar mission.

The countdown clock was halted about 40 minutes before the targeted launch time of 8:33 am EDT (1233 GMT), as the 32-story-tall, two-stage Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Orion crew capsule awaited liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The US space agency cited a problem detected on one of the rocket's main engines, after launch teams had begun filling the rocket's core fuel tanks with super-cooled liquid oxygen and hydrogen propellants.

NASA did not give a new launch date but said its first available backup launch opportunity was set for Friday, September 2.

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