NASA Sets New Launch Date for Artemis I

NASA Sets New Launch Date for Artemis I

NASA will make its next attempt to launch the Artemis I uncrewed test flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft on November 14 Eastern Standard Time. The clock will just have turned to that day on the U.S. East Coast — the launch is at 12:07 am. The two backup launch dates, November 16 and 19, also are in the wee hours EST, which could provide a spectacular view of the huge rocket blasting off against the black backdrop of night.

Artemis I can only launch at certain times when the Earth, Moon and Sun are correctly postioned relative to each other to ensure the mission meets test objectives like returning to Earth in daylight. Orion’s solar panels also cannot be in eclipse for more than 90 minutes at a time.

NASA calculates the days, hours and minutes when the launches can take place and how long the window is open each time. For November, the list is as follows.

Other factors also are at play, not the least of which is weather, but there also are limits on how long they must wait in between launch attempts to replenish propellant supplies, for example. Some of the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen naturally boils off. If the rocket has been fueled before they have to scrub a launch, it takes two days before the storage tanks are refilled and they can try again.

The first two launch attempts were scrubbed on August 29 and September 3. NASA had said September 2 would be the backup if the launch didn’t go on August 29, but changed it to September 3 after the scrub so the dates must be treated with some flexibility. But as of today, the first try will be November 14, and if that doesn’t work they will try November 16 and then November 19.

NASA had to roll the Artemis I stack back the Vehicle Assembly Building because of Hurricane Ian.

The Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft attached to the Mobile Launcher atop Crawler Transporter-2 headed back to the safety of the VAB, September 26, 2022. Photo credit: Joel Kowsky

They plan to send it back to the launch pad “as early as November 4.”

If the launch takes place on November 14, the mission will return to Earth with a splashdown in the Pacific off San Diego on December 9.

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