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All Systems Go! NASA Clears Historic Artemis 1 Moon Rocket For November 16 Space Coast Launch

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

NASA's historic Artemis 1 moon mission is on! NASA remained on track for the planned lift off of its new moon rocket on Wednesday , November 16, after determining that hurricane damage provided little extra risk to the test flight.

Mission managers met on Monday, November 14 to discuss the flight readiness of the Artemis 1's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft following slight damage caused by Hurricane Nicole, which was swiftly downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall, on Thursday November 10.

Despite the fact that a 10-foot section of caulking peeled away near the crew capsule at the top of the rocket last Thursday, Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager at NASA, said There's no change in our plan to attempt to launch on the 16th."

"The unanimous recommendation for the team was that we were in a good position to go ahead and proceed with the launch countdown," added Jeremy Parsons, deputy manager of NASA's Exploration Ground Systems program at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

If all goes according to plan during additional preflight checks and the cryogenic fueling process on Tuesday November 15, the Artemis 1 mission will launch from Launch Pad 39B at 1:04 a.m. EST on November 16.

NASA Clears Historic Artemis 1 Moon Rocket Launch For November 16 Despite Storm Damage

Artemis 1 will see an uncrewed Orion spacecraft launch atop the SLS vehicle into lunar orbit. The mission is intended to lay the groundwork for future Artemis missions that will see humankind return to the moon with the eventual goal of establishing a sustainable human presence there.

Artemis 2 will see a human crew placed into orbit around the moon no earlier than 2023, while Artemis 3, scheduled for 2024 or 2025, will see astronauts leave bootprints on the lunar surface once again.

The space agency plans to send astronauts around the moon in 2024 and land a crew on the lunar surface in 2025.

Astronauts last visited the moon in December 1972, closing out the Apollo program.

 Artemis 1 on Kennedy Space Center launch pad

Liftoff is scheduled for the early morning hours of Wednesday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, with no astronauts on board. It’s the first test flight for the 322-foot rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA, and will attempt to send the capsule into lunar orbit.

The mission has been grounded since August by fuel leaks and Hurricane Ian, which forced the rocket back into its hangar for shelter at the end of September.

The rocket remained at the pad for Nicole; managers said there wasn't enough time to move it once it became clear the storm was going to be stronger than anticipated.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center


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