CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After their first two launch attempts were scrubbed, NASA has provided an update on potential makeup dates for Artemis 1 to lift off.
The agency said in a news release that it plans to conduct a demonstration test no earlier than Wednesday, Sept. 21, and has updated its target date for a launch opportunity to Tuesday, Sept. 27, with a potential backup opportunity of Sunday, Oct. 2 under review.
“We’re trying to plan a path forward if we’re allowed to extend our battery retest requirements on the flight termination system," said Jim Free, the Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development at NASA last week. "To that end, we’ve asked for a couple dates on the Range to support our planning.”
NASA says its two launch windows are as follows:
- Sept 27: 70-minute launch window opens at 11:37 a.m.; landing on Nov. 5
- Oct. 2: 109-minute launch window opens at 2:52 p.m.; landing on Nov. 11 (under review)
NASA says the updated dates represent "careful consideration of multiple logistical topics, including the additional value of having more time to prepare for the cryogenic demonstration test, and subsequently more time to prepare for the launch."
"After standing down on the Artemis 1 launch attempt Saturday, Sept. 3 due to a hydrogen leak, teams have decided to replace the seal on an interface, called the quick disconnect, between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line on the mobile launcher and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket while at the launch pad," NASA said in a blog update from last week.
Listen to the NASA update regarding Artemis 1:
NASA also previously said last week they would need to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the Vehicle Assembly Building before the next launch attempt to reset the system's batteries, "to meet the current requirement by the Eastern Range for the certification on the flight termination system."
If the two adjusted dates don't bring a launch, NASA has outlined multiple dates that are available throughout the weeks ahead:
October 17 – October 31
11 launch opportunities
No launch availability on Oct. 24, 25, 26 and 28
November 12 – November 27 (preliminary)
12 launch opportunities
No launch availability on Nov. 20, 21 and 26
December 9 – December 23 (preliminary)
11 launch opportunities
No launch availability on Dec. 10, 14, 18 and 23
"Artemis 1 is the first test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems, with the Orion spacecraft launching atop the massive Space Launch System rocket," according to the Kennedy Space Center. "This mission is the first in a series of missions to demonstrate NASA’s ability to extend human existence to the moon and beyond."
So what does that mean exactly?
"With Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before," NASA explains. "We will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the moon. Then, we will use what we learn on and around the moon to take the next giant leap: Sending the first astronauts to Mars."
The Artemis mission also has ties to Northeast Ohio.
Testing on the Orion space capsule was conducted at the Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky. The Orion capsule then traveled to Mansfield in March of 2020 where it was loaded on NASA's Supper Guppy plane to be transported to the Kennedy Space Center.
"NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before," NASA explains. "Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities."
Once Orion is done orbiting the moon after 42 days with the Artemis 1 mission, the space capsule will be brought back to the NASA facility in Sandusky for additional testing.
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Editor's note: Video in the player above features our full Artemis special hosted by 3News' Betsy Kling, which originally aired on Aug. 29, 2022.