Artemis I mission management team gives ‘go’ for Nov. 16 launch attempt

Space agency working on two new issues before next launch attempt

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Artemis I mission management team gave a “go” for the next launch attempt for NASA’s mega moon rocket.

Launch managers convened Sunday evening for a teleconference before starting a countdown to NASA’s next attempt at moonshot.

That countdown begins at 1:24 a.m. Monday, after which the agency hopes to send the Space Launch System rocket skyward on a 26-day mission with its companion Orion capsule during a two-hour launch window that opens Wednesday at 1:04 a.m.

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NASA announced Sunday that the weather forecast is 90% favorable for Wednesday’s planned launch of it’s mega moon rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

“I have given a 10% probability of weather violation that translates of course to a 90% chance of favorable weather during the launch window early window morning,” said Melody Lovin, weather officer with Space Launch Delta 45.

During the press conference, launch officials announced there is a suspect electrical connection on the hydrogen tail service mast umbilical that carries launch commit criteria signals. The team said they have redundant signals that are used to conform those launch commit criteria, but team is trying to restore normal communications through work at the launchpad Sunday evening.

They also announced some RTV – or room temp vulcanization material – delaminated from the eastern side of the Orion spacecraft, most likely from Hurricane Nicole’s winds.

NASA said engineers will conduct a detailed analysis of the several feet of the delaminated caulk and reconvene on Monday. The analysis will assess risk should it come loose during launch, according to launch officials.

Mission managers did note that RTV repairs on Orion could not be performed on the launchpad.

“All the data right now is indicating we have a healthy rocket, minus these two issues,” Artemis Mission Manager Mike Sarafin said.

The stacked configuration made it back out to the launch pad Nov. 4. after taking cover in September from Hurricane Ian, yet Hurricane Nicole left the launch vehicle in need of minor repairs as it braved the Category 1 storm out in the open.

NASA confirmed Friday that Nicole made no “significant” impacts to the SLS rocket, the capsule or any associated ground systems.

Two previous launch attempts have so far been called off, on Aug. 29 due to a faulty temperature sensor and on Sept. 4 due to a liquid hydrogen leak, NASA said.

Artemis is the long-awaited NASA program to take Americans back to the moon and possibly to Mars. During the Artemis I mission, the uncrewed Orion capsule is to circle the moon before returning to Earth.

If Artemis I is successful, it will be followed by a crewed test mission — Artemis II — that will also orbit the moon, and if that works out, Artemis III’s goal will be to land on the moon.

NASA will provide a prelaunch status update Monday afternoon after the mission management team reconvenes.

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Jacob joined in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.