Launches: Artemis 1 as early as August 29?
July 20 update: Artemis 1 as early as August 29?
NASA officials said at a press conference earlier today that the Artemis 1 mission – our first step in a human return to the moon – could launch as early as Monday, August 29, 2022. The announcement comes on the 53rd anniversary of the first human footsteps on the moon, during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. Jim Free, associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C. later said via Twitter that his team is gearing up for the historic flight:
While we have a fair bit of work to do on Artemis 1 ahead of launch, we’ve put placeholders on the range starting on August 29.
The other two possible launch dates mentioned today are:
Friday, September 2, 2022
Monday, September 5, 2022
Free said the team is “focused” as they continue to work through a slew of procedures and processes, in preparation for the first flight test of NASA’s newly developed heavy lift vehicle – the mighty Space Launch System, or SLS – and of the Orion crew capsule, in which the return crew to the moon will ultimately ride.
Artemis 1 will serve as a test flight for SLS. The SLS will send the (uncrewed) Orion crew capsule on a trip around the moon and back.
If the current preferred launch dates don’t work out, NASA mission planners have other possible windows planned for Artemis 1 stretching to the end of 2022.
While we have a fair bit of work to do on #Artemis I ahead of launch, we’ve put placeholders on the range starting on August 29. The team is focused as we continue to learn through first time operations to prepare for the first flight test of @NASA_SLS & @NASA_Orion. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/xgI9i675Sk
— Jim Free (@JimFree) July 20, 2022
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Bottom line: On July 20, 2022 – anniversary of the first human footsteps on the moon – NASA said the Artemis 1 moon mission might launch as early as August 29.