Artemis I rescheduled for November launch
NASA has delayed the launch of the Artemis I mission to mid-November following Hurricane Ian’s destructive impact on southern states, including Florida.
Artemis is the first step in the next era of human exploration. NASA and its partners plan to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon in order to prepare for further missions to Mars.
Artemis I is a flight test to launch NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and an uncrewed Orion spacecraft around the Moon before the Artemis II mission with astronauts aboard.
Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone on the way to Mars.
The approximately two-day countdown for launch began on Saturday, Aug. 27, but was waved off the following Monday after encountering an issue getting one of the four RS-25 engines on the bottom of the rocket’s core stage to the proper temperature range for lift-off.
Saturday September 3rd was targeted as the next launch date but was once again scrubbed when teams detected a liquid hydrogen leak while loading the propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket.
Repair works were underway, and the team made progress toward recovery operations despite a hydrogen leak detected during slow fill operations.
Further launch dates were rolled back, as the team monitored the weather forecast associated with Tropical Storm Ian.
At 11:21pm ET Monday, NASA’s Artemis I Moon rocket left launch pad 39B atop the crawler-transporter and began its 4-mile trek to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
Initial inspections on Friday 30th September showed that there has been no damage to Artemis flight hardware from Hurricane Ian and the facilities are in good shape.
As teams complete the post-storm recovery operations, NASA has stated that it is now working towards a launch period that opens on 12th November and closes 27th November. This gives the team time to identify any additional issues before returning to the pad for launch.
Keep up to date with our coverage of the Artemis I launch via our Aerospace & Defence section on the Electronic Specifier website.
Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky