NASA kicked off Monday its plan to send an unmanned space capsule into the moon’s orbit, marking the initial launch in an ambitious plan to establish a long term presence on the moon for scientific discovery and economic development.
The space capsule, called Artemis I, will travel for roughly 40 days -- reaching as close as 60 miles from the moon, and then 40,000 miles above the moon when orbiting over its dark side -- before landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego.
After the launch was scrubbed, the next attempt will occur Sept. 3.
Next Artemis I launch attempt likely pushed to late September
A launch attempt on Monday or Tuesday is off the table following Saturday's large leak, NASA officials said.
NASA engineers will look at the rocket and determine if a launch window on Sept. 26 or Sept. 27 is a possibility, officials said during a Saturday press briefing.
The SpaceX launch on Oct. 5 that will send astronauts to the International Space Station will factor into the decision-making as well.
-ABC News' Gio Benitez
NASA to provide an update on Artemis I launch
Mission management team will meet Saturday to see if there is still a possibility for a launch, or if they will have to roll back into the vehicle assembly building, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said speaking on NASA TV.
If they decide to roll back into the vehicle assembly building, then it will be an October launch, more likely toward the middle of October.
Nelson said the launch will happen when it is ready, saying, "This is part of our space program; be ready for the scrubs."
Saturday's launch scrubbed
The launch director has officially decided to scrub the launch scheduled for Saturday afternoon after NASA engineers detected several liquid hydrogen leaks.
NASA engineers encountered the leak while loading the propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket.
Multiple troubleshooting efforts to address the area of the leak did not fix the issue. NASA said engineers are continuing to gather additional data.
NASA has not yet said when it plans to make another launch attempt.
-ABC News' Gio Benitez
Liquid hydrogen leak detected for the 4th time
NASA engineers have detected a liquid hydrogen leak for the fourth time, despite three attempts to troubleshoot the leak. NASA said its teams are now discussing next steps.
A third leak occurred earlier in a cavity between the ground and flight side plates of a quick disconnect in the engine section. They attempted to warm up the quick disconnect to try to reset the seal then began flowing liquid hydrogen to the core stage.
NASA said the liquid oxygen tank of the core stage is full and is being replenished as some of the super-cooled propellant boils off.
NASA breaks down details behind Artemis launch scrub
NASA officials on Monday offered more details behind the decision to postpone the Artemis I launch.
Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, explained engine three was not cooling down enough to the temperature needed before ignition.
"I don't recall exactly where the engines were but engines one, two and four were pretty close to that. Three was not getting there," he told reporters during a media briefing Monday afternoon.
Sarafin said there were other issues earlier in the day including tanking -- filling the rocket with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen -- being delayed for about an hour after the Kennedy Space Center went into a lightning alert as well as a hydrogen leak, although both were resolved.
"So the combination of not being able to get engine three to reach chill down and then the vent valve issue that they saw at the inner tank really caused us to pause today and we felt like we needed a little more time," he said.
Sarafin added that he is hopeful about the second launch opportunity on Sept. 2.
"There is a non-zero chance we have a launch opportunity on Friday," he said.
"But we need time, we really need time to look at all the all the information, all the data and, you know, we're gonna play all nine innings here and we're not ready to give up yet," Sarafin continued.