NASA eyes September 27 launch for Artemis 1 Moon mission

NASA Artemis 1 Moon Mission Launch Date: After two failed attempts, NASA is targeting a September 27 launch date for its Artemis I mission. The space agency is also reviewing a potential backup launch window option for October 2. On September 27, the launch window opens at 11.37 AM EDT (9.07 PM IST).

Ahead of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft’s first launch, NASA plans to conduct cryogenic demonstration tests of its no earlier than September 21. These updated dates were selected after the space agency considered the complex logistics of the mission, including the added value of having more time to prepare for the cryogenic demonstration test.

The backup launch window of October 2 is under review because NASA and SpaceX plan to launch the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station on October 3. The space agency and the Elon Musk-owned private space company are reviewing the pre-launch milestones for the mission to look out for any potential impacts.

The second attempt at launching the mission had to be scrubbed because of a hydrogen leak. Artemis I teams completed the repair works on this leak over the weekend and reconnected the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line. Next, they will conduct tests at ambient conditions to first ensure that there is a tight bond between the two plates of the feed line before testing it again under cryogenic conditions.

Launch controllers will load liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) of SLS during the demonstration. Engineering teams will assess the demonstration to confirm that the hydrogen leak has been repaired. They will also evaluate the updated propellant loading procedures that were designed to reduce thermal stress and pressure-related stress on the system.

But NASA’s Range Flight Safety Program is processing the space agency’s request that the current testing requirement for the flight termination system (FTS) be extended. NASA’s tentative September 27 launch date is dependent on the program approving this request. If the request is not accepted, the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft may have to be rolled back into the Vehicle Assembly Building for testing and maintenance.

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