NASA is ready to give it another go. After the space agency’s epic new Artemis 1 mega-rocket failed to launch in late August, then again in early September, NASA just announced that September 27th is the next launch date window for its Artemis 1 mission.
Update: The September 27th launch was delayed due to hurricane Ian, which made landfall in Florida on September 28th. NASA now plans to launch the Artemis I rocket in late November.
NASA’s “mega moon rocket” is an uncrewed mission that aims to use its new Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket to shoot Artemis I beyond the moon, travel over 280,000 miles away from Earth, then safely return.
According to NASA, it’ll attempt to launch the mission on September 27th, with a 70-minute launch window opening at 11:37 AM ET. Additionally, October 2nd is the backup date if the team runs into further issues. For those unaware, the first launch dealt with engine issues, and then when NASA tried for the second launch window, it experienced a hydrogen fuel cooling leak issue. Engineers tried and failed three times to fix the leak and eventually pulled the plug on the launch.
The third time’s a charm, hopefully. The agency claims that all its technical problems are fixed, new seals installed on the hydrogen quick-release mechanism that failed during the second attempt, and now all systems are a go.
In an attempt to prevent another failed launch, NASA said it would run further tests on September 21st ahead of the main event. These tests ensure the newly repaired quick disconnects can handle the cryogenic temperatures and conditions it’ll experience during the real rocket launch.
Basically, NASA ran into a few problems, fixed them, and now hopes to send the Artemis I rocket to space in the early hours of September 27th. If successful, the craft will return to Earth on November 5th. You’ll be able to watch it all unfold on YouTube.