WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — NASA announced on Wednesday it is hoping to launch the Artemis I mission on Nov. 14, after a series of delayed attempts hindered by fuel leaks and Hurricane Ian.
The newest date would be the fourth try for the Space Launch System rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA. The most recent attempt was scrapped due to Hurricane Ian, which forced the space agency to bring the rocket inside from the launch pad.
NASA said on Wednesday that the agency plans to roll the rocket back onto the launch pad as early as Nov. 4. The agency also announced back-up launch dates for Nov. 16 and Nov. 19.
The 322-foot rocket will attempt to send a capsule around the moon and back. No one will be aboard, just three test dummies. If successful, it will be the first capsule to fly to the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago.
If launched on Nov. 14, the mission will last 25-and-a-half-days with an expected splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 9, according to the space agency.
Already years behind schedule, the $4.1 billion test flight is the opening shot in NASA's Artemis moon-exploration program, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology. Astronauts could strap in as soon as 2024 for a lap around the moon and actually attempt a lunar landing in 2025.