NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission likely delayed to November


NASA’s big Artemis 1 moon rocket is rolled again to the Vehicle Assembly Building off its lauchpad, after suspending the much-anticipated mission a 3rd time due to the arrival of Hurricane Ian and different technical issues, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. September 27, 2022. 

Michael Weekes Jr | Reuters

NASA’s long-awaited return to the moon is delayed just a little longer.

With Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida this week, the area company rolled the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket — set to launch the Artemis I mission — again into the mammoth Vehicle Assembly Building for defense at Kennedy Space Center.

The towering rocket, with the Orion capsule stacked on prime of it, has been out on the launchpad since mid-August, earlier than a number of technical issues compelled NASA had to name off launch makes an attempt over the previous month.

NASA now sees November as probably the most likely alternative for the following Artemis I launch try. In a press briefing on Tuesday, NASA affiliate administrator Jim Free stated the company expects to conduct work on the rocket whereas it is within the VAB, changing elements which might be “limited life items.”

“It’s just a challenge to think: ‘Can we get in there, [complete the work], and get back out there for another launch attempt,'” Free stated. “We don’t want to go out too fast and then we’re stuck in a situation where maybe we didn’t get to all the limited life items we want to.”

For the rocket and capsule, “limited life” describes objects which want to be refreshed or checked periodically, corresponding to batteries or propellant tanks.

The Artemis I mission would mark the debut of the SLS and Orion capsule, for what can be a greater than month-long journey across the moon. It kicks off NASA’s long-awaited return to the moon’s floor as the primary mission in NASA’s Artemis lunar program. Tentatively, the plan is to land the company’s astronauts on the moon by its third Artemis mission in 2025.

Notably, this primary mission is 5 years delayed and billions over price range. More than $40 billion has already been spent on the Artemis program, a lot of that towards SLS and Orion development. The system comes with a per-launch price ticket of $4.1 billion.

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