After more than 50 years, NASA is going to land on the moon again. NASA’s most powerful rocket and lunar mission, Artemis-1, was scheduled to launch earlier this week, but was delayed due to inclement weather and technical problems. However, NASA’s preparations for its launch on Saturday have been completed, AFP news agency reported.
According to AFP, the rocket is scheduled to launch at 2:17 p.m. local time from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, there is also a possibility of a delay of two hours if necessary.
Weather forecast analyst Melody Lovin told a news conference, ‘The weather looks good’ and it is not expected to be a ‘showstopper’.
On Monday, NASA also worked to fix technical glitches that plagued the launch in the last minutes of its original scheduled window.
At first it appeared one of the rocket’s four main engines had overheated, rocket program manager John Honeycutt said Thursday. However, it later turned out that the issue was simply due to faulty sensor readings. In future, such misinformation will be ignored.
A fuel tank leak on the rocket was also patched.
Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said: ‘We were able to fix what we thought was the source of the leak.’
The Artemis-1 mission was an uncrewed test flight. It will be the first launch for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the world’s most powerful. This technology has been in the works for over a decade.
Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin said, ‘There’s no guarantee we’re going to land on Saturday, but we’ll try.’
If the mission takes place on Saturday, the Orion capsule, fixed atop the rocket, will spend 37 days in space and orbit the moon from a distance of about 100 km.
This is the Orion that will carry future astronauts back to the Moon as early as 2025.
Artemis is named after the twin sister of Apollo, the Greek god who led the first mission to the moon. NASA said that if this mission and technology is successful, it will work on the technology to send people to Mars.