Artemis I Moon mission launches tonight one hour after midnight

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed it remains on track for the launch of the Artemis I Moon mission during a two-hour launch window that opens at 1:04 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

The launch countdown began at 1:24 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14.  

Artemis I is the first integrated flight test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, an uncrewed Orion spacecraft, and the ground systems at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission will pave the way for a crewed test flight and future human lunar exploration as part of Artemis. 

Following Hurricane Nicole, teams have conducted thorough assessments of the rocket, spacecraft, and associated ground systems and confirmed there were no significant impacts from the severe weather. The SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft arrived at Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39B on Nov. 4 and rode out the storm there.

Engineers previously rolled the rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) Sept. 26 ahead of Hurricane Ian and after waving off two previous launch attempts Aug. 29 due to a faulty temperature sensor, and Sept. 4 due to a liquid hydrogen leak at an interface between the rocket and mobile launcher. Prior to rolling back to the VAB, teams successfully repaired the leak and demonstrated updated tanking procedures.

While in the VAB, teams performed standard maintenance to repair minor damage to the foam and cork on the thermal protection system and recharge or replace batteries throughout the system.  

NASA’s Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket will launch on its first test flight with an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on Wed, Nov 16, 2022 12:30 AM EST

The mission, known as Artemis 1, will place the Orion spacecraft into orbit around the moon before the capsule returns to Earth for splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

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 will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon. Then, NASA will use what is learned on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.

“We’re going back to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers: the Artemis Generation,” said NASA. “While maintaining American leadership in exploration, we will build a global alliance and explore deep space for the benefit of all.”

Artemis Base Camp on the surface and the Gateway in lunar orbit are elements that will allow robots and astronauts to explore more and conduct more science than ever before.

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