The stars appear to align with NASA’s Moon rocket finally launching on Saturday, with favorable weather forecasts and technical issues that delayed the launch earlier this week.
The plane is scheduled to take off at 2:17 pm local time (1817 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with a possible delay of up to two hours if necessary.
The chance of getting favorable weather conditions in that window was 60 percent Thursday evening.
“The weather looks good,” forecast analyst Melody Lovin told a news conference.
NASA is also working to correct technical difficulties that delayed the launch at the last minute during its original scheduled window on Monday.
At first, one of the rocket’s four main engines appeared to be overheating, though it turned out to be just a reading from a “bad sensor,” missile program manager John Honeycutt said Thursday.
In the future, incorrect information will simply be discarded.
Then the fuel tank leak must be corrected.
“We were able to find what we believe was the source of the leak and correct that,” launch director Charlie Blackwell Thompson said.
Artemis Mission 1 is an uncrewed test flight. It will be the first launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the most powerful in the world that has been in development for more than a decade.
“There’s no guarantee we’re going to go down on Saturday, but we’ll try,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager.
If the mission continues on Saturday, the Orion capsule mounted atop the rocket will spend 37 days in space, orbiting the moon from about 60 miles (100 kilometers) away.
It’s Orion that will bring future astronauts back to the Moon – including the first woman and first person of color to walk on its surface – in 2025 at the earliest.
Artemis is named after the twin sister of the Greek god Apollo, for whom the first lunar missions are named. With the new pioneering program, NASA hopes to test technology that one day aims to send humans to Mars.
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