Objective Moon: the Artemis 1 mission is postponed to spring, announces NASA

The general launch rehearsal has been postponed to March, which therefore postpones the actual launch of the giant SLS rocket. There will be no astronauts on board the Artemis 1 mission, which marks a first step towards the reunion of man and the Moon.

It was first scheduled for the end of 2021, then for February 2022. The first mission of the American program to return to the Moon, Artemis 1, will finally start a little later than planned. NASA said it was studying launch opportunities in April and May”, in a press release (in English) published Wednesday, February 2. This delay is due to the multitude of necessary checks, specifies the agency. The big dress rehearsal for the launch, initially scheduled for February, finally had to be postponed to March. With the effect of postponing the actual launch.

Artemis 1 will not have an astronaut on board, but will sign the real launch of the Artemis program, which should allow the United States to return humans to the Moon, including the first woman and the first person of color. On this occasion, NASA’s new giant rocket, SLS, will fly for the first time. It will be responsible for propelling the Orion capsule to the Moon, where it will be placed in orbit before returning to Earth.

During the dress rehearsal in March, the rocket must be brought to the launch pad, its tanks filled with fuel and the entire launch sequence performed – apart from the actual liftoff. The course of this general rehearsal will then determine the precise date of take-off. The additional delay is not caused by a problem “specific”said at a press conference Tom Whitmeyer, responsible for the development of exploration systems at NASA.

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“It can be something as simple as a scratch that needs to be buffed out, or paint that needs to be touched up, there’s just a lot to do, it’s a huge vehicle”, he added. The SLS rocket, currently fully assembled at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is almost 100 meters high. A few months ago, an independent report from the office of the inspector general estimated that the Artemis 1 mission would in fact probably take place “in the summer of 2022”.

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