Following months of tests and troubleshooting, NASA hopes to launch its long-awaited Artemis 1 Moon mission. Before today, the plan was for the agency’s next-generation Space Launch System rocket to blast off sometime after 8:33AM ET. However, during the night a lightning storm moved close to the Kennedy Space Center, forcing NASA to delay the start of propellant loading. The agency later discovered a hydrogen leak and had to troubleshoot through a communications issue with the Orion spacecraft the SLS is supposed to put on a trajectory toward the moon. It’s unclear if those issues could delay the launch.
If the mission doesn’t get underway today, it could blast off later this week. The current launch window is open until September 6th. If the rocket is delayed beyond that date, the earliest we could see NASA attempt to put Artemis 1 in space again would be between September 19th and October 4th. Whatever happens over the next few hours, you can watch it all unfold on NASA’s official YouTube channel.
Once it’s underway, Artemis 1 will send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a trip beyond the moon. If all goes according to plan, the capsule should return to Earth after spending 39 to 42 days in space. The mission is mostly designed to test NASA’s latest hardware before a planned crewed spaceflight sometime in 2024.
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