Hydrogen is NASA's fuel of choice for Artemis I, but it's also hard to manage

As NASA pushes toward a third attempt at launching the Artemis I mission later this month, the agency's use of a popular rocket propellant – supercooled liquid hydrogen – has become the center of attention due to its finicky nature.

Now set for liftoff no earlier than 6:47 a.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23, the 322-foot Space Launch System rocket's ground support equipment is under repair at Kennedy Space Center.

Two previous attempts at launching an uncrewed Orion capsule to the moon were scrubbed due to hydrogen-related cooling and fueling issues.

Teams at pad 39B are currently investigating what caused a serious hydrogen leak during the fueling process on Sept. 3.

Frequent issues with hydrogen, many of which trace back to the space shuttle program, are common. 

It also must be pumped in at high pressures, easily exposing even the smallest leaks.

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