WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The countdown is on for a rocket launch to the moon — again.

NASA will make a second attempt to launch its Artemis rocket on Saturday after technical issues delayed it the first time. NASA official Jeremy Parsons says all signs look good for an upcoming launch.

“If the conditions with weather and the hardware align, we’ll absolutely go,” Parsons said.

Engineers had to call off a planned launch on Monday because of a fuel leak and engine problems. Since then, they’ve been working to address the issues.

“Team has really just done a fantastic job getting us out of launch attempt number one, repairing all the issues and getting us into a safe configuration to proceed,” Parsons said.

If the launch is successful, this will be the first time America has sent a capsule to the moon since Apollo 17, which was 50 years ago. Former Astronaut Jefferey Hoffman says it’s long overdue.

“We went there and then we stopped and we threw it all away,” Hoffman said. “So I’m excited that we’re getting ready to go to the moon again.”

NASA’s eventual goal with this mission is getting astronauts back on the moon and establishing a permanent presence there. Dr. Hoffman says that could be important for scientific discovery.

“We’ve only just scratched the surface with Apollo, you know, bringing back samples of the moon. And we’ve learned incredible amounts about the history of the solar system, how the Earth was formed,” Hoffman said.

Billions of dollars have been poured into the project. But Dr. Hoffman says Artemis could unlock access to natural resources and give us a competitive edge globally.

“Someday the moon is going to be a part of the economic sphere of the Earth. Whoever establishes their bases first is in a good position,” Hoffman said.