The launch of NASA’s new megarocket to the moon, already delayed twice due to technical problems, will not take place until September 27, the US space agency said on Monday.
This long-awaited test flight of the Artemis 1 uncrewed mission is to test the SLS rocket (for space launch system) in real conditions and the Orion capsule on top of it, where astronauts will be in the future.
To receive the green light, NASA teams must successfully pass the fuel tank fill test and receive a special battery retest waiver on the missile’s emergency kill system.
If the agency does not receive this waiver, the rocket will have to return to the assembly shop, pushing the schedule back a few weeks.
The Firing Window on September 27th will open at 11:37am local time for 70 minutes, with the mission scheduled to end on November 5th. A possible second window is scheduled for October 2, NASA said in a blog post.
NASA said last week that it hopes to launch SLS on September 23 or 27.
The rocket launch was canceled on Monday, August 29, and then again on Saturday, September 3, due to technical problems, delaying the effective launch of the US Artemis lunar return program.
The orange and white SLS missile, which has never flown before, has been in development for more than a decade.
Fifty years after the last Apollo mission, Artemis 1 should make sure that the Orion capsule on top of the rocket is safe to take astronauts to the Moon in the future.
For this first mission, Orion will travel up to 64,000 kilometers beyond the Moon, further than any other habitable spacecraft.
The main goal is to test its heat shield, the largest ever built. Upon returning to the Earth’s atmosphere, it will have to withstand a speed of 40,000 km / h and a temperature half that of the surface of the Sun.