NASA announces possible start dates for Artemis moon mission test
Cape Canaveral, Florida - The Artemis mission to the moon is on track to undertake a first full launch test, US space agency NASA said Wednesday.
Possible launch dates are August 29, September 2, and September 5, NASA's Jim Free said in a press briefing, calling the dates "placeholders."
Free said NASA thinks it is on a "good path" to make attempts for a test on those dates.
"Of course, it's the first time we're trying to launch this vehicle," Free said. "We're gonna be careful, we're gonna work hard to meet the attempts on those dates."
The Artemis mission aims to return US astronauts to the moon, including at least one woman. The original goal of achieving this by 2024 has been pushed back to 2025 at the earliest.
The troubled rocket system being developed for the mission encountered technical issues during two unmanned ground tests, known as "wet dress rehearsals," but NASA has now given the green light for the unmanned launch test.
The system consists of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion capsule.
For the eventual manned mission, four astronauts are to be brought into lunar orbit using the Orion spacecraft, after which two of them will use a landing vehicle to reach the moon's surface.
The mission also aims to establish a "sustainable presence" on the moon, which will ultimately be used as a base for future missions to Mars.
Cover photo: Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP