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NASA plans to launch the Artemis I Moon mission in February 2022 | Engadget

You’ll have to wait a little longer for NASA’s Artemis I mission. space.com notes NASA now expected to launch the unmanned Artemis I flight test in February 2022, with the launch window set for February 12. The Orion capsule is stacked on top of the Space Launch System rocket, and the blastoff now relies mainly on testing.

However, that testing may take some time. The space agency is planning tests for interfaces, engineering, communications and the countdown system. The most important test is in fact the “Wet Dress Rehearsal”, when the Artemis I crew will attempt to load and unload the propellants several weeks before launch. NASA won’t set a firm launch date until after a successful rehearsal, so you won’t get the final timing for a long time.

Artemis I will send an Orion capsule with a sensor-equipped “moonikin” around the moon (plus organ- and bony “phantoms”) to study acceleration, radiation and vibrations during the journey. Artemis II will carry a human crew. NASA hoped to land humans on the moon by 2024, although budget concerns and the battle over lander contracts have cast doubt on that goal.

A successful Artemis I mission would nevertheless be an important milestone. It would demonstrate the viability of both Orion and SLS. More importantly, for the first time in decades, humans would be one step closer to moving beyond Earth’s orbit.

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