CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The countdown to NASA’s largest test flight of the year has begun.
At 10:23 a.m. EDT (1423 GMT) today (August 27), the countdown clock has ticked until the planned launch of NASA Artemis mission 1It is the first ambitious trip to the moon by the agency’s most powerful rocket ever – the space launch system (SLS) – Her Orion spacecraft. The unmanned test flight is scheduled to launch Monday (August 29) at 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT) from Pad 39B here at the Kennedy Space Center.
“This first launch is another step in our sustainable exploration scheme for Solar SystemJim Frey, NASA Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development, told reporters here at a briefing Friday. You can Watch the launch of the Artemis 1 moon mission online live, Courtesy of NASA Television. The webcast will begin on Monday at 6:30 a.m. EST (1030 GMT).
Related: NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission: Live updates
Artemis 1 is a pioneering mission for NASA Artemis programwhich aims to return astronauts to the moon By 2025 the first woman and person of color had landed at the Moon’s south pole, an area the astronauts had never seen with their own eyes. The mission’s flight will send an unmanned Orion capsule on a 42-day journey to orbit the Moon and return to Earth to test whether the spacecraft is ready to transport astronauts.
If this mission succeeds, NASA will follow up Artemis 2a manned flight around the moon in 2024, which will then lead to Artemis 3 A manned landing on the moon a year later. NASA said the ultimate goal is to conduct annual missions to the moon after Artemis 3, in which a crew of space station gate into lunar orbit and then target manned flights to Mars.
There is a 70% chance of good weather launching the Artemis 1, with scattered rain being the main concern, According to NASA (Opens in a new tab) and the United States Space ForceSpace Launch Delta 45 weather group. NASA has a two-hour window to launch Artemis 1 to allow some wiggle room if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.
Related: Artemis 1: 10 Wild Facts About NASA’s Moon Mission
During the two-day countdown to Artemis 1, NASA launch controllers will put the Space Launch System’s massive 322-foot (98 m) rocket and its Orion spacecraft through the final stages of flight. Engineers closed the Orion capsule slot for the last time on Thursday (August 25).
On Friday, engineers also closed the hatch for the SLS rocket’s launch abort system, which sits atop the Orion spacecraft, and pulled out the crew access arm that astronauts will eventually use aboard the spacecraft on future missions.
NASA will begin refueling the SLS rocket in the early hours of Monday morning, and NASA will broadcast it live at 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT). You’ll be able to watch this event live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, On our Artemis 1 webcast page.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a note that the countdown to NASA’s Artemis 1 launch has begun as planned.
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