The agency now says it is looking at Aug. 29, Sept. 2 and Sept. 5 as potential launch dates.
NASA completed a wet dress rehearsal in June and the rocket is now back at the Vehicle Assembly Building for examination and repair of a hydrogen leak before returning to the launch pad.
The crew is also performing final tests and has installed one of the three mannequins on board the Orion spacecraft (”Commander Moonequin Campos”).
NASA outlined timelines for each of the potential launch dates:
- Aug. 29: Two-hour launch window opens at 8:33 a.m., 42-day mission with an Oct. 10 splashdown
- Sept. 2: Two-hour launch window opens at 12:48 p.m., 39-day mission with an Oct. 11 splashdown
- Sept. 5: One-and-a-half-hour launch window opens at 5:12 p.m., 42-day mission with an Oct. 17 splashdown
There is an eclipse Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 that could affect the launch and mission.
There are a number of objectives and tests Artemis I will have to accomplish in order to be successful, with priority being testing the heat shield, something that can’t be simulated on Earth.
The first launch will be an uncrewed flight, but if successful, Artemis II is expected to take astronauts to the moon’s orbit, and astronauts will land on the moon with the Artemis III mission.
July 20 is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and that was on the mind of NASA officials during the news conference.
“Today’s anniversary is a good reminder of what a privilege it is to be a part of a mission like this,” said Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin. “It’s not just the Artemis mission, but it’s a bigger picture of returning to the Moon and preparing to go to Mars. And we try not to lose sight of that in our day-to-day work.”