Despite all the issues that have popped up, the Artemis I launch date has officially been set in stone. NASA announced earlier this month that the SLS megarocket, which will help usher in a new age of space exploration, is now “go for launch” for the Artemis I mission on August 29, 2022. And, with just six days to go, the space agency doesn’t appear to be backing down.
Artemis I launch date is set, SLS rocket is ready to launch
Artemis I is a huge mission for several reasons, chief among them that it will test the capability of the Orion capsule designed to carry humans back to the Moon sometime in the future. Additionally, the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket that Orion is outfitted atop is set to be the launch vehicle for NASA’s Artemis missions going forward.
That’s why having final confirmation of the Artemis I launch date is so important for many, especially those who plan to attend the event in person. Artemis I will launch from Cape Canaveral on August 29. When it does, the spacecraft will begin a 42-day trip where it flies past the Moon before returning to Earth.
As noted above, one of the main objectives of this mission is to test Orion’s capabilities in space. This includes testing the capsule’s heat shield as it reenters the Earth’s atmosphere. The engineers at NASA need to ensure that the heat shield can stand the heat before they try putting an actual crew on board.
NASA did a flyby of the rocket this week to commemorate the upcoming launch.
Despite NASA giving the Artemis I launch date a thumbs up, the new megarocket isn’t quite 100 percent just yet. There are still a few lingering problems plaguing the new launch system. In fact, the SLS rocket has effectively failed four wet dress rehearsals due to various issues. Still, NASA says it is ready to launch, according to reports from Gizmodo.
NASA has yet to correct all these issues, and there are some parts of the system that can’t even be properly tested until it is actually ready to launch. Should this test fail when NASA attempts to launch Artemis I on August 29, the agency will need to try again at a later date.
If no issues occur, though, the launch of Artemis I will set the stage for a new era of space exploration. The subsequence Artemis II and Artemis III missions are even more ambitious and will eventually lead to human boots back on the lunar surface. This is a huge achievement, as human boots have not touched the Moon’s surface since the 1970s.
Artemis I’s launch date is also set to draw a massive crowd to Kennedy Space Center. NASA already expects more than 100,000 visitors to gather for the inaugural launch of the SLS rocket. Hopefully, the launch goes as expected, and we’ll have even more great things to look forward to going into September.