BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Artemis is still set to launch on Saturday afternoon, NASA mission managers said in a briefing Thursday evening.
NASA said it will proceed with a launch on Saturday afternoon from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39B. The two-hour window opens at 2:17 p.m. It’s expected to be a 37-day mission, with a splashdown on Oct. 11.
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Detailed on NASA’s blog, the Artemis 1 launch attempt on Monday was called off when launch controllers couldn’t get the temperatures of the SLS rocket’s four RS-25 engines under control, as one engine showed it was hotter than the rest. Personnel have had such issues under their magnifying glass since the scrub, checking hardware, analyzing data and updating what procedures they feel necessary, NASA said.
But NASA’s mission managers said they believe there was a bad sensor, and they are getting good propellant levels for the engine. They believe they have worked through the issues and are go for launch Saturday.
“There’s no guarantee that we’re going to get off on Saturday, but we’re going to try,” Artemis I Mission Manager Mike Sarafin said.
The weather is forecasted to be an improved 60% go for launch on Saturday, according to Space Launch Delta 45, with concerns about cumulus clouds and the electrical field.
“The technical teams have put in a tremendous amount of work in a very short amount of time to get us here,” Sarafin said.
If the launch is pushed to Monday, the backup day, the weather improves, but weather officer Melody Lovin said she does not anticipate weather to be a “show-stopper” for either launch window.
The Artemis I mission is the first for the Artemis program, its Space Launch Systems rocket and Orion spacecraft to the Moon. The uncrewed spacecraft will orbit the Moon and return to Earth. If successful, Artemis II will send two astronauts to orbit the Moon, potentially in 2024, and then Artemis III would see astronauts land on the Moon, potentially in 2025.
According to NASA officials during a news conference Thursday evening, Artemis I’s flight orbit around the moon is expected to last approximately 37 days, which is down from initial figures estimating 42 days.
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