The new launch date for the Artemis 1 mission is set for November 14, with a 69-minute launch window opening at 12:07 a.m. ET, NASA reported on its blog. In the event of an unforeseen situation, there are backup launch options on November 16th and 19th, with windows opening at 1:04 a.m. and 1:45 a.m. ET, respectively. NASA plans to roll the rocket to launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, November 4.
For the Artemis 1 mission, the SLS launch vehicle will send an uncrewed Orion capsule on a trip to the Moon and back. The time must be chosen so that Orion’s solar panels are guaranteed to have sufficient access to sunlight, and the capsule must fall into the Pacific Ocean during daylight hours.
If SLS launches on November 14, the total duration of the mission will be about 25 days, and Orion is expected to land on December 9. The capsule will be picked up and carefully analyzed to make sure it has survived. After returning from the Moon, Orion is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at more than 20,000 miles per hour (32,200 kilometers per hour), the fastest speed for any future crewed vehicle.
The first of two SLS launch emergency stops occurred on September 29, after a faulty sensor gave false engine temperature readings. The second failure, on September 3, was the result of an uncontrolled hydrogen leak, which led to the September 22 cryogenic refueling trial which proved successful. SLS and Orion cost about $50 billion to develop, and each expendable rocket launch is expected to cost $4 billion. Let’s hope that the third launch attempt turns out to be successful.