NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) will launch on September 27 after a setback caused by a hydrogen leak during its second launch attempt earlier this month.
NASA’s first Artemis I launch attempt came on August 29, but it was canceled due to a problem with RS-25 engine number 3 during tanking operations. NASA’s mission team fixed the faulty temperature sensor that led to that first scrub and readied SLS and Orion for another launch attempt on September 3. For the second launch attempt, a liquid hydrogen leak led to another delay.
“The updated dates represent careful consideration of multiple logistical topics, including the additional value of having more time to prepare for the cryogenic demonstration test, and subsequently more time to prepare for the launch,” NASA officials wrote in their blog post. “The dates also allow managers to ensure teams have enough rest and to replenish supplies of cryogenic propellants.”
Another problem that can come up is the fact that Artemis I’s two upcoming launch dates are very close to the launch of SpaceX and NASA’s Crew-5 astronaut launch to the International Space Station. That mission will launch from pad 39A. However, scheduling conflicts may delay the launch of Artemis I.
According to NASA, “teams are working on the upcoming commercial crew launch in parallel to the Artemis 1 planning, and both launch schedules will continue to be assessed over the coming weeks”. SpaceX and NASA will collaborate on Artemis III, which will use SpaceX’s fully reusable Starship as a lunar lander to send humans back to the lunar surface for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972.