This is the result of NASA’s Flight Readiness Review, which was conducted on Monday. The review was an in-depth assessment of the readiness of the 322-foot (98 m) stack, which consists of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, currently on the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. .
The Artemis team is targeting its first two-hour launch window from 8:33 a.m. ET to 10:33 a.m. ET on Monday, August 29. There are backup launch windows on September 2 and September 5.
The pile of rockets arrived at the launch pad on August 17 after leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building after a 4-mile (6.4 kilometer) journey aboard one of NASA’s giant Apollo-era crawlers from the assembly building to the launch pad—just like the Shuttle missions and Apollo Saturn V rockets once did.
I will launch the unmanned Artemis I on a mission beyond the Moon and back to Earth. Once launched, the spacecraft will reach a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon, traveling 1.3 million miles (2.1 million km) over a 42-day period. Artemis I will fall into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego on October 10. Orion’s return will be faster and hotter than any spacecraft seen on its way back to Earth.
The Orion spacecraft will travel farther than any spacecraft ever designed for humans, reaching 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond the far side of the moon, according to NASA.
There are no humans on board, but Orion will carry 120 pounds (54.4 kilograms) of memorabilia, including toys, Apollo 11 items and three statues.
At the headquarters of Orion’s commander will be Commander Monnequin Campos, a proper mannequin who can gather data on what the human crew may encounter in the future on a trip to the Moon. The model will wear the new Orion Crew Survival System suit designed for astronauts to wear during launch and return. The suit has two radiation sensors.
This mission will launch NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon and land the first woman and first people of color on the moon by 2025 — and eventually make way for human exploration of Mars.
Artemis I will also carry a number of science experiments, some of which will be installed once the rocket and spacecraft reach the launch pad.