NASA announces new Artemis I launch windows

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA hopes to launch its Artemis I moon rocket in two weeks from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the agency announced Thursday.

NASA has asked the U.S. Space Force to reserve Sept. 23 and Sept. 27 as possible launch dates, according to The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. Space Force oversees launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The first requested launch window would open at 6:47 a.m. EDT on Sept. 23. If successful, the uncrewed Orion capsule would splash down in the Pacific Ocean on Oct. 18.

If Artemis doesn’t launch on Sept. 23, the second launch window will open at 11:37 a.m. EDT on Sept. 27, with a subsequent splashdown date of Nov. 5.

Before the launch, NASA will conduct propellant tests on Sept. 17, according to the The Wall Street Journal.

NASA is working to fix liquid hydrogen leak issues that had scrubbed the prior two attempts.

The first attempted launch in late August was marred by escaping hydrogen. Earlier this month, a different fuel leak was discovered before the second launch attempt.

According to The Associated Press, the Space Launch System rocket holds a crew capsule with three test dummies. NASA wants to send the capsule into lunar orbit on a trial run, before putting astronauts on the next flight, in 2024. That around-the-moon mission would pave the way for the first human moon landing in 50 years, currently scheduled for 2025.

The $4.1 billion test flight is the first step in NASA’s Artemis, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology.