NASA targets late Aug for Artemis 1 moon rocket launch: Report

Washington: NASA’s much-awaited Artemis 1 moon rocket will likely be launched in late August, the agency has said.

NASA said it has tentatively selected 3 dates for the launch: August 29; September 2; and September 5.

However, “it’s not an agency commitment,” Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development, said during a media briefing.

“But these are the dates that the team is working to and have a plan to.

“We’re trying to make sure that everybody understands this is the first time that we’re going to try and launch this vehicle.

“We’re going to be careful. We’re going to work hard to meet the attempts on those dates that I gave you and do our best to position ourselves to have the confidence in those dates,” Free said.

Artemis 1, was earlier scheduled to launch in late May 2022. However, due to multiple delays in its wet dress rehearsal the mega moon rocket has been pushed further.

After multiple attempts, the wet dress rehearsal was finally concluded on June 20, amid a hydrogen leak.

The final test marked the culmination of months of assembly and testing for SLS and Orion, as well as preparations by launch control and engineering teams, setting the stage for the first Artemis launch.

A confirmed launch date is expected closer to the actual lift-off.

“We’ll make the agency commitment at the flight readiness review just a little over a week before launch,” Free said.

The uncrewed Artemis I mission is the first flight of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft together. Future missions will send people to work in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface.

With the Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon and establish long-term exploration in preparation for missions to Mars.

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