When will Artemis I launch?
In an interview with IE last month, Pete Paceley, a principal director at Draper, the company responsible for much of Artemis I’s guidance software, said August was “looking pretty good” for launch.
Shortly afterward, on Wednesday, July 20, NASA announced a provisional launch date of August 29 for Artemis I, meaning we might be just days away from seeing SLS and Orion take flight. This came after NASA successfully completed its much-delayed wet dress rehearsal in June, during which it filled SLS with fuel and performed a simulated countdown that stopped just short of launch.
Of course, nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to rocket launches, and preparations must still go smoothly up to launch- all while the weather will also have to cooperate. SLS and Orion will start their slow rollout to the launchpad aboard Crawler-Transporter 2 on August 18.
Why is Artemis I such a huge milestone for NASA?
Artemis I is one of two launches set to take place this summer — or in September — that will usher in a new era of spaceflight. The other is the orbital maiden flight of SpaceX’s Starship launch vehicle, which NASA has contracted for its Artemis III moon landing mission.
Artemis I is the first in a series of missions that NASA plans to use to establish and maintain a permanent presence on the moon — which will act as a springboard for sending humans to Mars. Artemis I will be NASA’s first big mission to the moon since the last moon landing carried out by Apollo 17 in 1972.