NASA Passes Go, Moves Toward Late August Artemis I Launch

Artemis I rocket rolls out to the launch pad for a wet dress rehearsal on June 6, 2022. (Credit: NASA)

NASA has decided that the Space Launch System (SLS) wet dress rehearsal earlier this week that ended prematurely was sufficient for the agency to move forward with having the giant rocket launch an uncrewed Orion spacecraft to the moon later this summer.

“NASA has reviewed the data from the rehearsal and determined the testing campaign is complete. The agency will roll SLS and Orion back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy next week to prepare the rocket and spacecraft for launch and repair a leak detected during the most recent rehearsal. NASA plans to return SLS and Orion to the pad for launch in late August. NASA will set a specific target launch date after replacing hardware associated with the leak,” the space agency said in a press release.

Controllers were able to fuel both stages of the giant booster for the first time and take the countdown to T-29 seconds. A leak in a bleed line that takes hydrogen away from the rocket prevented controllers from taking the countdown to the planned T-9.3 seconds.

The Artemis I mission will be the maiden flight of SLS and the second flight of an automated Orion crew vehicle, which has been developed astronauts back to the moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in December 1972. The mission will extend from 26 days to 28 days, or 38 to 42 days, depending upon when the mission is launched. NASA has a launch window that extends from Aug. 23 until Sept. 6, excluding Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.

NASA will hold a media teleconference at 11 a.m. EDT Friday, June 24, to discuss next steps for the Artemis I mission with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Audio of the call will livestream on NASA’s website.

NASA officials will discuss the outcome of the wet dress rehearsal, plans to return the rocket and spacecraft to the VAB, and repair the leak. Teleconference participants include:

  • Tom Whitmeyer, deputy associate administrator for Common Exploration Systems Development, NASA Headquarters
  • Phil Weber, senior technical integration manager, Exploration Ground Systems Program, NASA Kennedy
  • John Blevins, chief engineer, Space Launch System Program, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Cliff Lanham, senior vehicle operations manager, Exploration Ground Systems Program, NASA Kennedy

Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars.

For updates, follow along on NASA’s Artemis blog at:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/artemis