NASA Has Rolled Out Its Moon Rocket Out To the Pad For The Lunar Mission Once Again

NASA has launched its massive Space Launch System (SLS) Moon rocket to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center again.

The aim of the agency is to launch the spacecraft, with the agency’s Orion spacecraft attached, on November 14, sending the unmanned capsule around the Moon and back. This would be the first test of equipment for the purpose since the early 1970s.

The rocket was originally slated for launch in late August, but the attempt was not successful due to a technical issue. The second attempt in early September also had to be delayed due to a gas leak. A third attempt was called off before the date, with the rocket being hauled to NASA’s massive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)  due to Hurricane Ian. 

“If we weren’t confident, we wouldn’t roll out,” Jim Free, associate administrator at the space agency’s exploration systems development mission directorate, told reporters last week.

The 69-minute launch window opens just after midnight local time. Backup dates are already set for November 16 and November 19.

While getting the mission, called Artemis I, off the ground has proven to be more technically challenging than expected, NASA has been adamant ever since and is bound to make it happen. 

Launching at night will add complexities, but NASA thinks they can work around it.

“The visual references obviously are what you lose, in terms of launching at night, but obviously we have [infrared cameras],” said Cliff Lanham, senior vehicle operations manager at NASA, during the press conference. “But we have a great number of cameras that we’ll still get shots from.”

Fortunately, according to meteorologist Chris Dolce, November “as a whole is generally more hospitable for good launch conditions when compared to summer’s often storm-plagued afternoons.”

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