NASA will make a second attempt to launch its Artemis-1 lunar rocket today, September 3. Problems with fuel and one of the engines delayed the first stage of the mission on August 29.
The first stage of the Artemis mission involves the launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) superheavy launch vehicle, which takes the Orion spacecraft out of Earth orbit. After the capsule separates, it will fly for 42 days, 3 hours and 20 minutes, with 6 days in retrograde orbit around the Moon. Finally, it will lead to the Pacific Ocean. There will be no humans on board Orion in this first stage.
“The launch time from the test launch pad on Saturday will be 2:17 p.m. EDT (9:17 p.m. Bulgarian time),” Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis mission manager, announced at a press conference on Tuesday. NASA officials added that if the rocket does not lift off on Saturday, another launch could be scheduled as early as 48 hours later.
NASA sees this flight as the first of three missions that will be a vital test of the hardware, software and ground systems designed to one day transport the first humans to Mars and beyond.
The program is named after the Greek goddess Artemis, who is the twin sister of the god Apollo (the Apollo mission is named after this Greek god of light and the arts). Artemis 1 will be followed by Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 in 2024 and 2025/2026 respectively. Artemis 2 will make the same journey as Artemis 1 but with a crew of four, and Artemis 3 will bring the first person of color man and the first woman on the moon.