This article will be updated as new information becomes available.
The two-hour launch window opens at 7:04 AM PT, which is 1 AM on the US East Coast. If for some reason the rocket does not fly by 9:04, the launch attempt will have to be delayed a third time, because the Earth and Moon will not be in the correct position relative to each other.
The decision to attempt Monday’s launch was made after analyzing the latest set of problems with the SLS rocket. This time it was caused by Hurricane Nicole, which hit the Florida coast on November 10. The missile was already on the launch pad, and it had previously been decided that it was better to leave it there than try to hastily hide it in the hangar. Strong winds and rain did not cause serious damage, but tore the thin insulating layer on the top of the SLS. After several days of analysis, it was determined that this was not a serious problem and the launch was planned.
Bumpy road in space
There is no hiding it the new Rocket NASA She has a lot of problems so far. At the beginning of the construction program, its launch was planned for 2016. After six years of delays, it finally stood on the launch pad. It was first tried on August 29, but had to be abandoned due to incorrect readings from one of the sensors in the engines. It turned out to be defective. Another attempt on 3 September was canceled due to a leak of liquid hydrogen while filling the tanks. Then it was decided to remove the missile from the launch pad for a more thorough review of the various problematic components and the launch preparation procedure itself. The next attempt was scheduled for September 27, but it was canceled due to the arrival of Hurricane Ian and the SLS remained in the hangar. The next proper launch date for the Artemis I mission was in November.
Artemis is the name of NASA’s program to return humans to the moon. SLS (Space Launch System) is its core element, so it’s the first airline It’s a great and very important test after 11 years of work. The rocket has already been extensively tested and several defects have been fixed, so everything should go well, but as subsequent failed launch attempts show, there is no guarantee.
The mission plan is to launch the Orion spacecraft (which has been tested before with smaller rockets into Earth orbit), broadly similar to the Apollo spacecraft, but much larger. It will be sent to the Moon, which will orbit for about six days. It will then return to Earth’s orbit and eventually land in the Pacific Ocean near California. The total time spent in space is expected to be about two weeks. The pod contains mannequins, recording equipment, and science experiments. The task is to test not only the missile, but also the new A ship on a long-distance voyage far from Earth. Although he does not have a full life support system on board yet.
If all goes as expected, the next SLS flight with Orion is planned for spring 2024. This time it’s manned, but it hasn’t landed on the moon yet. Only the third mission, tentatively planned for 2025, is to lead humanity back to the Silver Globe. Almost half a century after Apollo 11. Come back in better style, because staying on the moon is supposed to last about a week. Although these are only plans for now, since there are many indications that meeting the landing date in 2025 is unlikely.
At the time of its maiden flight, the SLS will be the second largest rocket in human history. It won’t beat the one used in the Apollo Saturn V program, but it’s close. It has the capacity to carry 95 tons of payload to low orbit and 27 tons to the moon. For the Saturn V, these figures were 140 and 43.5 tons, respectively, although outwardly the difference in size does not indicate such a difference in potential. The SLS is 98m and 8.4m at its widest point, while the Saturn V is 110m and 10m, respectively. However, the main difference is that the SLS ready for today’s launch is the first release, far from final form. Especially since its second stage, which is activated outside the atmosphere, is a temporary solution. The planned target version of the SLS is to be very close in capabilities to the Saturn V, but it’s still a matter of a decade. As long as it ever happens.
NASA’s new rocket has a very bumpy history and an uncertain future, that we described years ago. In short – it was built on conservative assumptions, and work on it took more money And more time than planned, and there is no shortage of votes that this money is better spent ordering similar capabilities from private companies like SpaceX. For now, however, there is no talk of ending the SLS program. It has support in Congress, and its members are willing to award contracts to build it in their constituencies. However, it is essential for the new missile to perform well on its first flight.
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