NASA's Ready for the Moon, Artemis I Mission Scheduled for Launch on August 29

NASA SLS rocket on the pad 7 photos
Photo: NASA SLS via Twitter
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NASA has completed its Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for Artemis I, the first integrated flight of the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. In just under a week, the massive rocket will launch with an uncrewed spacecraft on top, sending it on a six-week journey around the Moon.
After five decades, NASA is ready to return to our natural satellite. Artemis I will kickstart the Artemis Moon exploration program, which focuses on establishing a long-term presence on the lunar surface. The first flight will put both the Orion spacecraft and its SLS rocket through their paces. It's a crucial step that will open a new chapter of space exploration.

Today (August 22), Artemis I managers conducted an FRR, which evaluated if the rocket, the spacecraft, and the teams were ready for the historic launch. It's a big deal since this is the first mission out of a series of incredibly complex ones meant to pave the way for humanity's return to the Moon. Of course, there are several risk factors involved in the test flight.

For the first time, the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule will have a trip around the Moon. At the furthest point, the spacecraft will be at around 290,000 miles (467,000 km) away from Earth – farther than any human-rated spacecraft has ever gone. Orion will spend 42 days orbiting the satellite, and then it will return home with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

With Artemis I, the agency will extensively evaluate the integrated systems before the crewed flights take place. It will test the heat shield of Orion and will recover the crew module after splashdown. Although it won't carry any astronauts on board, the spacecraft will take with it a lot of interesting items, including mannequins, microchips, various flags, patches, and mementos. In total, it will transport a cargo of 120 lbs (54 kg) to the Moon and back.

Currently, the rocket and the capsule are going through final preparation ahead of the flight. There are two pre-launch tests left before the final countdown preparations begin. The rocket is set to blast off with the spacecraft from NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B in Florida. A two-hour launch window will open at 8:33 a.m. EDT on August 29. If the weather is not on the agency's side on Monday, there will be two backup launch windows on September 2 and September 5.

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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