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NASA has set a date for another attempt at launching its Artemis I mission, after Hurricane Ian forced the space agency to roll back its massive rocket into its hangar at Kennedy Space Center in Florida late last month.
The 69-minute launch window for the Space Launch System or SLS, will open at 12.07 a.m. ET on Monday, November 14, NASA said Wednesday.
If the launch is successful, the 322-feet tall rocket will send the uncrewed Orion spacecraft around the moon and back to earth to test its systems. The mission is expected to last 25 days with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean Friday, December 9.
The space agency said “minimal work” was required to prepare the rocket and Orion spacecraft for roll out to the launch pad, a slow, 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) journey that could take place as early as Friday, November 4.
The overall goal of NASA’s Artemis program is to return humans to the moon for the first time in half a century. And the Artemis I mission — which is expected to be the first of many — will lay the initial groundwork, testing the rocket and spacecraft and all its subsystems to ensure it’s safe enough for astronauts to fly.
But getting this first mission off the ground has proven to be a trying endeavor. Technical issues thwarted the first two attempts, while Hurricane Ian scuppered the third try.
NASA said it had requested back-up two-hour launch windows for Wednesday, November 16, at 1:04 a.m. and Saturday, November 19, at 1:45 a.m.