Artemis: NASA sets another new launch date for moon mission

After two failed attempts, NASA scheduled its third launch attempt for Sept. 27, with a back-up date on Oct. 2.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Artemis 1

The original Artemis I launch date was scheduled for Aug. 29, and after two failed attempts, the third launch attempt will come nearly a month later. NASA announced it will now attempt to launch its spacecraft to the moon no earlier than Sept. 27, with a potential backup opportunity of Oct. 2 under review.

The Orion spacecraft is set to take off aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for its journey around the moon on Sept. 27 with a 70-minute launch window that will open at 11:37 AM EDT. On Oct. 2, NASA would have a 109-minute launch window, opening at 2:52 PM EDT, upon review approval. 

Late last week, NASA said the next launch opportunity could be as early Friday, Sept. 23. However, these dates will allow for managers to make sure teams have enough rest and time to replenish supplies of cryogenic propellants. NASA run a cryogenic demonstration test no earlier than Wednesday, Sept. 21.

SEE: What is Artemis? Everything you need to know about NASA's new moon mission

"The updated dates represent careful consideration of multiple logistical topics, including the additional value of having more time to prepare for the cryogenic demonstration test, and subsequently more time to prepare for the launch," said NASA.

The first Artemis I launch attempt on Aug. 29 was unsuccessful after encountering a problem with one of the SLS rocket's engines. The engine was having trouble reaching the proper temperature range for liftoff.

The second launch attempt occurred on Sept. 3. and was unsuccessful due to a hydrogen leak in quick disconnect, an interface between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, according to NASA. Three attempts at resealing the seal were made, but they yielded no results. 

The Artemis I teams have worked quickly on fixing the leak before the new launch date. Over the weekend, teams completed repair work to the area of the hydrogen leak, reconnecting the ground- and rocket-side plates on the quick disconnect for the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line where two seals were replaced last week, said NASA.

This week, teams will further investigate the leak, making sure there is a tight bond between the two plates. The cryogenic demonstration test will also allow teams to determine whether the leak is truly fixed as well as evaluate updated propellant loading procedures designed to reduce thermal and pressure-related stress on the system, conduct a kick-start bleed test and evaluate pre-pressurization procedures.

SEE: NASA is sending a spacecraft to smash into an asteroid 

The new Artemis launch date is scheduled for the day after NASA's DART mission is supposed to take place. However, during a briefing on Monday, NASA said an overlap between missions would not harm either mission's success rate. 

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