NASA Eyes Late September For Next Artemis I Launch Attempt

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NASA is considering Sept. 27 for its third attempt to launch the Artemis I uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft. According to the agency, the date, which is still under review, will allow time for a cryogenic demonstration test to be conducted no earlier than Sept. 21 as well as providing a potential backup launch opportunity on Oct. 2. The current launch window for the mission closes on Oct. 4 with the next running Oct. 17-31.

“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,” the agency said in its latest mission update. “The dates also allow managers to ensure teams have enough rest and to replenish supplies of cryogenic propellants.”

As previously reported by AVweb, the first Artemis I launch attempt was scrubbed when one of the SLS’s engines failed to reach the proper temperature range for liftoff and the second attempt was called off due to a hydrogen leak. NASA stated that repairs in the area of the leak were completed over the weekend, a fix which will be confirmed by the cryogenic demonstration test. Artemis I is the first of a three-mission series designed to land a crew on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but I just keep having the feeling this thing is going to blow up after launch. Too many glitches on a new rocket that I think is being developed too fast (even though it’s years behind schedule). I really hope I’m wrong because we need a new heavy lift rocket badly, but I think it’s going to take a few launches to get this one right.

  2. NASA is finally realizing that Space-X has eaten their lunch. Now it is rush, rush, rush to maybe get to the Moon to prove to Congress that NASA should continue to receive funding for manned space flight.

    I have this life-sized picture of the Artemis lander, sitting on the Moon. The Spacecraft Commander steps onto the surface and begins to say the speech that was prepared for her by the NASA PR folks. “We return to the Moon in peace for all …”

    As she turns around she is halted in mid sentence when she sees a row of people in lunar suits holding a banner that reads, “Space-X Welcomes NASA to the Moon!” Over the radio she hears, “Welcome! Y’all come on over to our place for a barbecue to celebrate! What kind’a beer do you like?”

    Oh, and repeat on Mars.

    • SpaceX isn’t yet at the stage of having a human-rated launch system capable of getting to the moon and back. And NASA has to play it slower and more carefully because they don’t have the advantage of using their own money on rapid development (and “deconstruction”) without fear of funding getting pulled.

      • Neither does NASA, yet. FYI the Orion capsule on the current SLS stack does not have any of the life-support systems required for a manned launch. The first astronauts on the SLS will not have a flight-proven Orion setup. Also, FYI SpaceX is on a firm-fixed-price contract for their lunar services. SLS could have been contracted the same way, except it couldn’t – not enough opportunity to spread the vig around. If NASA can’t compete, why are they in charge of building the SLS? SpaceX is up to 178 or so successful Falcon 9 launches since 2010, with the latest launch the 14th use of the booster. Their operational tempo demonstrates a mastery of LEO.

        The next Artemis launch, a manned flight, is not scheduled until 2024. I’ve got $100 that says there will be several Starships swanning around the solar system by then, some of the human-rated. And the costs for the expendable SLS are just obscene.

        • SpaceX is trying something new with human-rated space vehicles that has not been done before. It took them quite a while to sort out their recoverable Falcon boosters, and it will likely take them quite a while to sort out the technical challenges of Starship. Spaceflight is still a hard technical challenge.

          • Say what you want, SpaceX has demonstrated that they get stuff done, and in record time. They are moving at the tempo of the US manned space program of the 1960s. They aren’t afraid to try things even if they suffer from the occasions the “rapid catastrophic disassembly”.

            In short, SpaceX has given us the space program that we were promised back in the 1950s and 1960s but was never delivered by NASA. There is no question which organization I would put MY money on.