NASA targets February launch for Artemis 1 mission on its 1st first moon rocket since Apollo
NASA is now targeting early next year for the maiden launch of its next mega rocket: the Space Launch System. It could potentially launch by Feb. 12.
Science & Tech
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is now targeting early next year for the maiden launch of its next megarocket: the Space Launch System.
The behemoth moon rocket, the first since the Apollo program, is months behind schedule (it was initially slated to launch in November) but could now potentially fly Feb. 12 if its final tests go well, NASA officials said Friday (Oct. 22). That's when the first launch window opens for its uncrewed Artemis 1 mission around the moon, they said.
The Space Launch System, or SLS, is the rocket NASA is developing to take astronauts to the moon, Mars and other distant destinations as part of the agency's Artemis program, which aims to send astronauts back to the moon as early as 2024 to establish a long-term, sustainable human presence on and around Earth's nearest neighbor.
It's composed of two major components: the SLS rocket and Orion crew capsule. On Wednesday (Oct. 20), engineers stacked the crew capsule atop its 322-foot-tall mega launcher inside High Bay 3of the historic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The stacking marked the completion of a major milestone for the agency and its countdown to launch.