NASA selects three ‘placeholder’ dates for its Artemis 1 mission: Launch of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft will happen no earlier than August 29
- NASA announced Artemis I will launch either Aug 29, Sept 2 or 5
- The dates were revealed on Wednesday during a press briefing
- James Free, associate administrator at NASA’s Washington DC headquarters, said the exact date will be determined about a week before launch
NASA announced Wednesday it selected three potential dates for its Artemis I mission – the first stage of its historic operation to send the first woman and person of color to the moon.
The American space agency is targeting August 29 to launch the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center.
And September 2 and 5 are marked down as backup launch dates.
James Free, associate administrator at NASA’s Washington DC headquarters, said the exact date will be determined about a week before launch.
The American space agency is targeting August 29 to launch the Space Launch System (SLS) (pictured) rocket and Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center. And September 2 and 5 are marked down as backup launch dates
Artemis I, which has experienced several delays over the past two and a half years, will finally launch an uncrewed Orion capsule that will soar around the moon and splash back down in the Atlantic Ocean.
The news of the official launch comes weeks after NASA conducted a final ‘wet dress rehearsal’ that it deemed successful.
Catherine Hamilton, NASA office of communication, said during a press briefing: ‘Artemis I will be an unscrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human exploration in space and demonstrate our equipment and capabilities and human systems to the moon and eventually Mars.’
The rehearsal included fueling and countdown simulation for about 50 hours straight – it started June 20 and ended June 23.
Artemis I, which has experienced several delays over the past two and a half years, will finally launch an uncrewed Orion capsule that will soar around the moon and splash back down in the Atlantic Ocean
Pictured is an artist impression of the Orion craft soaring through space
Although it was deemed successful, there was a moment when hydrogen was leaking from the rocket.
However, NASA determined the issue was not crippling to the mission.
NASA’S SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM ROCKET IS THE LARGEST EVER MADE AND WILL LET HUMANS EXPLORE THE SOLAR SYSTEM
Space Launch System, or SLS, is a launch vehicle that NASA hopes will take its astronauts back to the moon and beyond.
The rocket will have an initial lift configuration, set to launch in the early-2020’s, followed by an upgraded ‘evolved lift capability’ that can carry heavier payloads.
Space Launch System Initial Lift Capability
– Maiden flight: Mid-2020’s
– Height: 311 feet (98 metres)
– Lift: 70 metric tons
– Weight: 2.5 million kilograms (5.5 million lbs)
Space Launch System Evolved Lift Capability
– Maiden flight: Unknown
– Height: 384 feet (117 metres)
– Lift: 130 metric tons
– Weight: 2.9 million kilograms (6.5 million lbs)
‘NASA has reviewed the data from the rehearsal and determined the testing campaign is complete. The agency will roll SLS and Orion back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy next week to prepare the rocket and spacecraft for launch and repair a leak detected during the most recent rehearsal,’ agency officials shared on June 23.
‘NASA plans to return SLS and Orion to the pad for launch in late August,’ they added. ‘NASA will set a specific target launch date after replacing hardware associated with the leak.’
Artemis I has been delayed several times – it was initially schedule for November 2020.
The first pause came after the coronavirus gripped the world two and a half years ago and then Hurricane Ida hit the US, which also grounded the rocket even longer.
The SLS rocket has also been plagued with its own issues – from mechanical to software.
The Artemis I mission will see the Orion spacecraft, the SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy combine to launch the Orion 280,000 miles past Earth around the moon over the course of a three-week mission.
This spacecraft, primarily built by Lockheed Martin, will stay in space ‘longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before,’ NASA has said previously.
If Artemis I is a success, then in 2024 NASA will send Artemis II on a trip around the moon, this time with a human crew on board.
The Artemis II mission plans to send four astronauts in the first crewed Orion capsule into a lunar flyby for a maximum of 21 days.
Both missions are tests flights to demonstrate the technology and abilities of Orion, SLS and the Artemis mission before NASA puts human boots back on the moon.
The Artemis mission will be the first to land humans on the moon since NASA’s Apollo 17 in 1972. With the first woman and first person of color expected to step foot on the surface at some point in 2025.
At an estimated $1 billion per launch, the space agency wants to ensure any issues or errors are picked up before the single-use rocket leaves the Earth.
NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis mission
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.
NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2025 – including the first woman and the next man.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars.
Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the moon and beyond.
During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.
It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of about a three-week mission.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission
Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.
Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.
Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.
The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.