On the 53rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, NASA announced that it’s shooting for a late August launch of its giant, new moon rocket. NASA will attempt the more than month-long lunar test flight with three mannequins, but no astronauts, as early as August 29. There are also two launch dates in early September, before NASA would have to stand down for two weeks. The other two possible launch dates mentioned today are:
- Friday, September 2, 2022
- Monday, September 5, 2022
NASA’s Jim Free noted the test flight begins “our Artemis program to go back to the moon.” The space agency’s new lunar program is named Artemis after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology. Free said the team is “focused” as they continue to work through a slew of procedures and processes in preparation for the first flight test of NASA’s newly developed heavy lift vehicle – the mighty Space Launch System, or SLS – and of the Orion crew capsule, in which the return crew to the moon will ultimately ride.
Artemis 1 will serve as a test flight for SLS. The SLS will send the (uncrewed) Orion crew capsule on a trip around the moon and back.