After Hurricane Ian caused NASA to roll back its massive rocket into its hangar at Kennedy Space Center in Florida late last month, the space agency has booked a date for another attempt to launch its Artemis I mission. The launch will take place at a later time.
According to a statement released by NASA on Wednesday, the launch window for the Space Launch System will open on November 14 at 12:07 a.m. Eastern Time, and it will remain available for 69 minutes. If the launch goes well, the unmanned Orion spacecraft will be carried around the moon by the rocket that is 322 feet tall and then brought back to Earth so that its systems may be tested. The mission is expected to endure for twenty-five days, with the spacecraft expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean on December 9.
The space agency stated that “minimal work” was all that was required to get the rocket and the Orion spacecraft ready for their slow rollout to the launch pad, which will be approximately 6.4 kilometers in distance and will take approximately 4 miles. The launch could take place as early as this coming Friday, November 4.
The return of humans to the moon, for the first time in half a century, is the primary objective of the Artemis program being carried out by NASA. And the Artemis I mission, which is predicted to be the first of many, will lay the first foundation by testing the spacecraft, rocket, and all of its components to ensure that it is safe for astronauts to fly. This mission will be the first of many. However, getting this preliminary mission off the ground has proven to be a challenging endeavor. The first two attempts were thwarted by a variety of technical challenges, and the third attempt was unsuccessful as a result of Hurricane Ian.
NASA has informed the public that it has requested two additional launch windows, each lasting two hours, for the dates of November 16 at 1:14 a.m. on Wednesday and November 19 at 1:45 a.m. on Saturday.