After years of waiting, NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket is about to open the door of lunar exploration that will return humans to the moon before the end of this decade. After the success of the wet dress rehearsal conducted by NASA on the space rocket, the agency began to make plans for the next milestone that would be attained by their sophisticated moon rocket.
On July 20th, 2022, while celebrating the 53rd anniversary of the first crewed mission to the moon, NASA official Jim Free announced that the official launch date for Artemis 1 moon rocket is August 29th, September 2nd, and September 5th.
He specified that these dates were selected based on when the rocket will be fully ready to fly to space. Jim Free, who works as NASA’s associate administrator of exploration systems, revealed these dates during a teleconference with the media.
He further mentioned that NASA would unveil more updates about the launch a week before Artemis 1 rocket commences its journey to space. Before NASA officially flies the Artemis 1 rocket, they must have ensured that the Space Launch System and the Orion Capsule are in good working conditions.
Free also revealed to the press that NASA scientists and engineers work tirelessly to meet the dates mentioned. Once everything is set, NASA will look forward to flying this futuristic rocket in late August or early September. The success of the wet dress rehearsal of the Artemis 1 rocket has inspired NASA to commence with the launch preparations.
However, during the last testing, the engineers noticed a hydrogen leak emanating from the core engine cooling system after fueling the SLS rocket. The good news is that the engineers have repaired the leakages and are fully ready for the next phase of the rocket. However, NASA engineers will still have to conduct maintenance checks on the rocket before moving to the launch pad.
How NASA Plans to Fly its Artemis 1 rocket
NASA’s SLS rocket was rolled back to NASA Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on July 2nd for Maintenance and other routine checks. As NASA plans to launch the Artemis 1 rocket on August 29, it implies that the agency has to roll the SLS to the launch pad before the launch date.
NASA SLS will be fully stacked with the Orion Space Capsule days before the launch. NASA officials revealed that the Artemis 1 launch date and time would commence on August 29 at 8:33 am EDT (1333 GMT). If NASA successfully launches the space rocket on August 29, the mission will last 42 days, as the Orion Capsule will conduct a flyby testing mission and splashdown on October 10.
On the second thought, if the space rocket is launched on September 2nd at 12:48 p.m. EDT (1748 GMT), the Artemis 1 mission will only last for 39 days before the Orion Capsule will splash down on October 11. September 2nd launch day will offer a two-hour launch window for the SLS rocket.
If the SLS rocket is launched on September 5th at 5:12p.m EDT (2212 GMT), the mission will last for 42 days, and the Orion capsule will splash down on October 17. This last opportunity will offer a 1.5-hour launch window. NASA has also created a backup plan in case technical issues or weather slows down the Artemis 1 rocket launch this year.
According to NASA, if any delay slows down the initially proposed dates, the Artemis 1 launch may be adjusted to mid-2023. The good news is that NASA is working tirelessly to ensure that technical issues will not delay the Artemis mission. Let’s hope for clear skies on the launch dates.
What NASA plans to Achieve with its Artemis Launches
After the Apollo Mission, NASA plans to return humans to the moon and possibly send humans to Mars under its Artemis space program. However, NASA is more concentrated on returning humans to the moon before the end of this date.
To do this, the agency grouped the Artemis space program into three phases. The first phase is the Artemis 1, an uncrewed mission to fly around the moon’s orbit. The Artemis 1 launch date is planned for either August 29, September 2 or September 5.
This mission will last only 42 days or less and will give NASA the courage to proceed with the Artemis 2. The Artemis 2 will likely commence on 2024, according to NASA officials. The Artemis 2 will be planned as a crewed orbital mission around the moon.
The Artemis 3 mission will take humans to the lunar surface. NASA plans to accomplish this milestone in 2025 or in the near future. The agency is working tirelessly to return humans to the Moon and commence with the plans to reach mars under its Artemis Program.