NASA’s Artemis 1 mission and the first launch of the SLS mega-rocket won’t lift off until at least May

Artemis 1, the first of NASA’s new generation of lunar missions, won’t launch until at least the end of May and could slip by in June, according to the space agency.

It’s about to lift off atop the massive Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but has been hit by a number of delays.

NASA said on a Thursday press call that it could not launch until the agency has data from a wet dress rehearsal, where the Orion capsule, which will one day take astronauts in lunar orbit, is stacked on the SLS at Pad 39B.

The team then goes through all the procedures and protocols involved in launching the rocket, but without actually lifting off the ground – to make sure everything goes smoothly.

That’s set to happen on March 17, meaning an April launch is no longer viable for the Artemis 1 mission, which will see an uncrewed Orion spend 26 days traveling to the moon, into orbit, and then back. on earth.

NASA now plans to launch around the end of May, but admitted it could slip into June or even July, depending on dress rehearsal data and weather.

During the press conference, NASA also confirmed that there are no Russian components in the SLS and Orion system.

Artemis 1, the first of NASA’s new generation of lunar missions, won’t launch until at least the end of May and could slip by in June, the space agency says

Artemis 1 was originally scheduled to launch in late 2021, but had to be postponed, initially to April at the earliest, and now to May at the earliest.

Some of them had to deal with problems encountered in the flight controllers of SLS, and others due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

If it’s delayed to June or July, as NASA officials have hinted, it would match the findings of an earlier government audit, which said Artemis I would likely take place “in the summer of 2022.”

“We continue to evaluate the May window, but we also recognize that there is a lot of work ahead of us,” said Tom Whitmeyer, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems Development Manager.

This work includes analyzing data from the wetsuit rehearsal, which will see the full stack of Orion and SLS deployed to launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center from the Vehicle Assembly Building at 6:00 p.m. ET on March 17. .

“During the launch pad test, engineers will be on duty at Launch Control Center and other stations where they will work during the Artemis I launch,” NASA explained in a blog post about the rehearsal. held wet.

It is about to lift off atop the massive Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but has been hit by a number of delays

It is about to lift off atop the massive Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but has been hit by a number of delays

“They will collect as much data as possible on the performance of all systems that are part of SLS and the Orion spacecraft as well as the Kennedy ground systems.”

NASA’S SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM ROCKET IS THE LARGEST EVER MADE AND WILL ALLOW HUMANS TO EXPLORE THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Space Launch System, or SLS, is a launch vehicle that NASA hopes will bring its astronauts back to the moon and beyond.

The rocket will have an initial lift configuration, slated for launch in the early 2020s, followed by an improved “evolved lift capability” that can carry heavier payloads.

Space Launch System Initial Lift Capacity

– Maiden flight: mid-2020

– Height: 311 feet (98 meters)

– Lifting: 70 metric tons

– Weight: 2.5 million kilograms (5.5 million pounds)

Space Launch System Advanced Lifting Capability

– Maiden flight: Unknown

– Height: 384 feet (117 meters)

– Lifting: 130 metric tons

– Weight: 2.9 million kilograms (6.5 million pounds)

“The crawler transporter will carry…a stack of over 17 million pounds to launch Complex 39B,” NASA’s Mike Bolger said, adding that “the top of the umbilical tower will be over 400 feet off the ground when ‘he’ll be riding on top of the crawler transporter, so it’s really going to be a show.

After the wet dress rehearsal, the combination of Orion and SLS will remain on pad 39B for about a month, before returning to the hangar for further analysis.

To launch in May, it must be ready between May 7 and May 21, and if it’s not ready by then, with all scans complete, it will have to wait until June.

The June window runs from June 6 to June 16 and then again from June 29 to July 12, NASA officials confirmed.

While this is the first mission for the massive Space Launch System rocket engine, it will be the second for the Orion capsule, which took part in a test flight in December 2014, heading into space on a ULA Delta IV Heavy.

When Artemis 1 finally launches, it will usher in a new era of lunar exploration, which will ultimately see the first woman and first person of color land on the moon.

The Artemis I mission will see the Orion spacecraft, SLS and Kennedy ground systems combine to launch the Orion 280,000 miles beyond Earth around the Moon during a three-week mission.

The spacecraft, primarily built by Lockheed Martin, will stay in space “longer than any spacecraft for astronauts without docking to a space station and will return home faster and hotter than ever before,” the agency said. NASA previously.

If Artemis I is successful, 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 on a lunar flyby for up to 21 days.

Both missions are test flights to demonstrate the technology and capabilities 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. The first woman and first person of color are expected to walk on the surface sometime in 2025.

At around $1 billion per launch, the space agency wants to ensure any glitches or errors are caught before the single-use rocket leaves Earth.

That's set to happen on March 17, meaning an April launch is no longer viable for the Artemis 1 mission, which will see an uncrewed Orion spend 26 days traveling to the moon, into orbit, and then back. on earth.

That’s set to happen on March 17, meaning an April launch is no longer viable for the Artemis 1 mission, which will see an uncrewed Orion spend 26 days traveling to the moon, into orbit, and then back. on earth.

It’s housed in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and with the Orion module above it, it measures 322 feet.

When launched, the rocket will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust, more than the Saturn V rocket that took Apollo astronauts to the Moon in the 1960s and 70s.

The Artemis missions have faced their own set of problems, especially with the development of spacesuits and the human lander systems that will take the crew to the surface.

However, many of the delays are due to issues with the SLS itself and legal issues, caused by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin unsuccessfully suing NASA over a decision to award the system contract. human lander only at Blue Origin.

In November, NASA extended its target date for returning astronauts to the Moon from 2024 to 2025 at the earliest.

NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis mission

Artemis was Apollo’s twin sister and moon goddess in Greek mythology.

NASA has chosen her to personify its journey 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 of the Moon and Mars.

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human exploration of deep space and demonstrate our commitment and ability 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 during a mission lasting approximately three weeks.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon and Mars.  This graphic explains the different stages of the mission

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the different stages of the mission

Orion will stay in space longer than any astronaut ship without docking with a space station and will return home faster and warmer than ever.

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps in human deep space exploration where astronauts will build and begin testing near-moon systems needed for lunar surface missions and exploration. to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.

They will take the crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans on board.

Together, Orion, SLS and Kennedy’s ground systems will be able to meet the most challenging requirements of deep space crew and cargo missions.

Eventually, NASA is looking 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 discover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advances, and lay the groundwork for private companies to build a lunar economy.

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