Weather looks good for Artemis 1 lunar mission launch, NASA says
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — It looks like Mother Nature may be cooperating for the historic launch of NASA’s Artemis 1 mega-rocket to the moon on Monday (August 29).
The weather outlook has improved for the scheduled launch of Artemis 1 at 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT) Monday from Pad 39B here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Forecasters are predicting a promising 80% chance of good takeoff conditions, up from 70% yesterday, officials said. You can watch the launch live online Monday from 6:30 a.m. EDT (10:30 a.m. GMT).
Melody Lovin, weather officer for the US Space Force’s Space Launch Group 45, said the best weather for Artemis 1 is at the start of its two-hour window. As the morning progresses, there is more chance of rainy weather, she told a NASA briefing today. When the window ends at 10:33 a.m. EDT (2:33 p.m. GMT), the chance of good weather drops to 60%.
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“As we move forward through the two-hour launch window, we just have a better chance of seeing some of those offshore showers and thunderstorms even closer to shore,” Lovin told reporters.
Artemis 1 is NASA’s first test flight of its Space Launch System (SLS) lunar rocket and Orion spacecraft. The uncrewed mission will send a sensor-laden Orion capsule on a 42-day shakedown cruise around the moon to verify that the two vehicles are ready to fly astronauts into deep space.
If all goes well, NASA will launch four astronauts around the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis 2 mission. This mission will set the stage for Artemis 3, the first crewed lunar landing, in 2025.
So far, the SLS rocket and Orion are in good condition with no technical issues for launch, Jeff Spaulding, NASA’s Artemis 1 senior test manager, said in today’s update. Even a series of lightning strikes on the Artemis 1 launch pad on Saturday, five in all, weren’t strong enough to signal a launch problem, he said.
The only thing engineers are watching for is a slight drop in helium tank pressure on ground equipment, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the launch, Spaulding added.
“I will say my thoughts are truly grateful tomorrow,” Spaulding said, adding that the entire NASA launch team was thrilled after years of hard work. “Love that the weather seems really ready to cooperate.”
If NASA can’t launch Artemis 1 on Monday, the agency could try September 2 and 5 as backup days.
Tune in Monday to watch the launch of NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission online. A live feed webcast will begin at 12:00 p.m. EDT (04:00 GMT) with a kick-off webcast at 6:30 a.m. EDT (10:30 a.m. GMT). Liftoff is at 8:33 a.m. EDT (12:33 p.m. GMT).
Email Tariq Malik at [email protected] or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and instagram.