Artemis 1 going to the Moon (mid November)

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Summary
For the first time in 50 years a crew capsule is sent towards the Moon again.
The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for Artemis 1 concluded - the rocket is on track for a launch August 29, 12:33 UTC (08:33 local time) or in the two hours afterwards. Backup launch windows are daily from September 2 to September 6.

The first flight of the Space Launch System will launch an Orion capsule that enters an orbit around the Moon before returning to Earth a few weeks later. As a test flight it's uncrewed, but it is the first spacecraft designed for crew that will fly to the Moon since Apollo 17 (December 1972). The next flight, Artemis 2, will fly 4 astronauts around the Moon. It is currently planned for mid 2024. Artemis 3 (not before 2025) and Starship HLS will land two people on the surface again, over 50 years after the end of the Apollo program.

There will be extensive NASA coverage both before and after launch. Here is a list.

Over 100,000 visitors are expected to watch the launch in person, it's going to be crowded. Assuming no major delays it will become the most powerful operational rocket until Starship launches.
 
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  • #2
.Scott
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This is a very high-stakes test. The SLS needs to be human rated to participate in the Moon program. If the full test cannot be completed or for any other reason needs to be redone, time will become a huge issue for this $21B program. On the other hand, if successful, it will become human-kind's most powerful orbital booster.
 
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  • #3
Borg
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Damn, that thing is big!
52291737656_388a8df7b5_o.jpg
 
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  • #4
Janus
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"Missed by that much" (If they launched a day earlier, it would have been on my birthday.)
 
  • #6
.Scott
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"Missed by that much" (If they launched a day earlier, it would have been on my birthday.)
Happy Birthday!
 
  • #8
russ_watters
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If Artemis 1 launches from KSC toward the east, why will the seperated core stage fall into the ocean east of Hawaii?
I would think it's on a nearly orbital trajectory at that point and gets yeeted like an ICBM.
 
  • #9
dlgoff
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I followed the US space program (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo) starting as a child when my father woke me one morning in 1957 telling me that the former Soviet Union had launched the Sputnik.
Here's a good reference: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/60counting/spaceflight.html
Artemis 3 (not before 2025) and Starship HLS will land two people on the surface again, over 50 years after the end of the Apollo program.
And this is why I feel like a kid again.
 
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  • #10
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If Artemis 1 launches from KSC toward the east, why will the seperated core stage fall into the ocean east of Hawaii?
The second stage is very light for such a massive rocket, so the core stage will almost reach orbit (~100 m/s or so short of a circular orbit). The trajectory is pretty similar to the planned Starship flight, which will also land near Hawaii (with the spacecraft, not the booster).

23 hours 30 minutes to launch. NASA is going through launch preparations (schedule).
The weather forecast sees 70% chance of acceptable conditions.

The go/no-go poll for tanking the rocket will be held 8:40 before launch, based on an updated weather forecast and the rocket status. Filling the tanks will take hours.


Happy Birthday Janus.
 
  • #11
Vanadium 50
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Damn, that thing is big!
Well, the moon isn't exactly close.
 
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  • #12
pinball1970
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A bit late to the party. I have learned a little bit about rockets since Webb.
Bank holiday in the UK tomorrow so I can relax and watch this.

 
  • #14
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There were some minor issues with fueling that were resolved. They are working on an issue with one engine and study what appears to be a crack or some unexpected frost in the connection of two tanks in the core stage: Engineers Troubleshooting Engine Conditioning Issue

T-02:00 if there is no delay, but a delay is now likely. The launch window is 2 hours long.
Fueling is almost done.

Edit: Very interesting detail in the livestream commentary. The engine bleed, which fails now, was one of the test items in the wet dress rehearsal that got skipped.
Launch is certainly delayed now, no new time yet.
 
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  • #15
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Frustrating to say the least, but what can they do now. The launch is not going to happen today I suppose. When is the next window?
 
  • #16
Borg
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Depends on the issue. If they have to roll it back to the VAB, it will be at least a few weeks. If they can resolve it on the pad, maybe later this week.
 
  • #17
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Scrub for today.
They are still running tests.

Next opportunity will be September 2. That's exactly the problem you risk with a shortened WDR. "No problem, we'll do the remaining tests before launch".
If they need to roll it back it will take at least weeks, but if they keep getting delays at some point they'll have to refurbish the boosters, which would take even longer.

There is also the concern that the core stage could run into its maximal certified fueling cycles. Not sure what the number was - something like 12? - but they might get close to it. Edit: 22 cycles, still several of them left.
 
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  • #18
.Scott
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The Washington Post has called this mornings missed launch attempt a "setback".
It is not a setback. The purpose of this test is to collect information. If they get that information anytime in the next month or two, Artemis will continue unabated.
 
  • #19
bob012345
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The Washington Post has called this mornings missed launch attempt a "setback".
It is not a setback. The purpose of this test is to collect information. If they get that information anytime in the next month or two, Artemis will continue unabated.
The entire existence of this program is a setback. Rehashed Apollo. Gigantic expensive throw away rocket. One would have hoped NASA might have learned something in the half century since Apollo. Sadly, not much.
 
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  • #20
.Scott
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The entire existence of this program is a setback. Rehashed Apollo. Gigantic expensive throw away rocket. One would have hoped NASA might have learned something in the half century since Apollo. Sadly, not much.
NASA learns very well. If enough powerful Congressmen want something for their districts, they will get it. When Elon put his starbase in Texas, he may have been looking for more orbital advantage for his rockets than equatorial proximity.
 
  • #21
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Try to find another east coast area with almost no one living within 5 km and at least 20 km to the nearest town, while still having a useful area to access and work with. Simply from geography there was no other choice for a new big launch site.
 
  • #23
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The entire existence of this program is a setback. Rehashed Apollo. Gigantic expensive throw away rocket. One would have hoped NASA might have learned something in the half century since Apollo. Sadly, not much.
Yeah, I recall asking myself why one big single point failure during the Apollo missions (okay, I was 16 and didn't frame the thought quite this way), why not park pieces in orbit using much smaller rockets? In todays world not doing this seems really wasteful and risky. Perhaps doing it without certain CEOs is a mission goal.
 
  • #24
hutchphd
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The Lunar Orbit Rendezvous was the method of choice for both the US and Soviet programs, because time was of the essence.
I find NASA manned space flight since Apollo to be largely the stuff of farce. Of course what hasn't been?
 
  • #25
bob012345
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The Lunar Orbit Rendezvous was the method of choice for both the US and Soviet programs, because time was of the essence.
I find NASA manned space flight since Apollo to be largely the stuff of farce. Of course what hasn't been?
I don't think SpaceX is a farce. I think Elon has definite goals a government program can't effectively do because of political and financial realities.
 
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  • #26
hutchphd
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I don't think SpaceX is a farce.
Nor do I. I am pretty much in awe of Mr Musk. He will almost certainly fail grandly at some point but will be back the next day to make it better.
His reality is certainly different from NASA. I do think having the contrasting mix of cultures is a good idea.
 
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  • #27
bob012345
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Nor do I. I am pretty much in awe of Mr Musk. He will almost certainly fail grandly at some point but will be back the next day to make it better.
His reality is certainly different from NASA. I do think having the contrasting mix of cultures is a good idea.
It's an interesting cultural difference between SpaceX and NASA in that what would be a failure for NASA is a 'test to failure mode to learn" experiment to SpaceX.
 
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  • #28
anorlunda
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I find NASA manned space flight since Apollo to be largely the stuff of farce. Of course what hasn't been?
Today, I heard Newton Minnow (the famous ex head of the FCC) say, "Unfortunately, Vietnam and Watergate turned many journalists from skepticism to cynicism." I'm afraid that is analogous to public reactions about this news. NASA has turned many once loyal space fans into cynics.
 
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Nor do I. I am pretty much in awe of Mr Musk. He will almost certainly fail grandly at some point but will be back the next day to make it better.
His reality is certainly different from NASA. I do think having the contrasting mix of cultures is a good idea.
If there's anything that will make us old cynics "feel like kids again" , it's Elon's plan to put a man on Mars. Most likely himself!
 
  • #30
bob012345
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If there's anything that will make us old cynics "feel like kids again" , it's Elon's plan to put a man on Mars. Most likely himself!
In the Apollo era they said* humans would land on Mars by 1985. Still waiting...

*World Book Encyclopedia circa 1967.
 
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  • #31
hutchphd
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I am certainly jaded. But I carefully limited my comments to the manned side NASA. The unmanned Rovers and trips to the gas Giants have been breathtaking in scope, planning, and execution. The Huygens probe for instance (although much of it was ESA I guess) was maybe as good as it gets. And even though jaded I am amazed to have shared an office with the woman who later fixed Hubble..Kathy tossing the bad solar arrays off the Canada arm to flap in the thruster wash is a picture for the ages (mine at least). One of NASA's great saves IMHO. And look at what Hubble did
But the rediculous PR about shuttle safety throughout, the Challenger debacle, the endless pork and then recycled pork for promised next steps belies ferocious mismanagement. I will be surprised if Aries actually delivers a moon landing.
But Elon keeps stickin those landings. Fingers crossed.
 
  • #32
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In the Apollo era they said humans would land on Mars by 1985. Still waiting...
Like nuclear fusion, it might never happen. But then again just imagine both do for if one then definitely the other!
 
  • #34
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Saturday September 3, 2:17 pm local (18:17 UTC), again a two hour window.

NASA blog
I don't see a discussion what exactly they want to change/fix, apart from starting the engine chilldown earlier.

Last year we got this launch window planning document. It says at least 48 hours between a first and a second launch attempt, and at least 72 hours between a second and third attempt, based on the time needed to refill hydrogen and oxygen tanks on site. With the five days between attempt 1 and 2 now it's likely that a third attempt 48 hours later will be possible: September 3 as baseline, and September 5 (5:12 pm local or 22:12 UTC, 90 minute launch window) as option if needed.
If they miss both they need to roll the vehicle back to VAB and we won't get a launch before October.
 
  • #35
.Scott
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Yeah, I recall asking myself why one big single point failure during the Apollo missions (okay, I was 16 and didn't frame the thought quite this way), why not park pieces in orbit using much smaller rockets? In todays world not doing this seems really wasteful and risky. Perhaps doing it without certain CEOs is a mission goal.
Big rockets are more efficient than smaller ones.

The formative SLS decisions were made around 2011 when SpaceX was applying itself to making the Falcon 9 usable for astronauts. There was some expectation that SpaceX might progress so swiftly and that ULA might encounter so many blocks - but not enough to make SpaceX a contender.

Since then, the SpaceX option has not been enough to displace the ULA option. In fact, SpaceX has benefitted from NASA's policies that encourage at least two available launch providers.
 

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