Artemis launch - live: ‘Countdown continues’ as Nasa predicts favourable weather for liftoff

·16 min read

Artemis I mission to the Moon is looking good ahead of its planned launch on 29 August.

After experiencing lightning during storms over the weekend, Nasa said the “strikes were of low magnitude and had no impacts to Space Launch System, Orion, or ground systems”. In a blog post on Sunday, the space agency said the “countdown continues” ahead of the launch.

The space agency announced that teams are proceeding toward a two-hour launch window opening at 8.33am EDT Monday, 29 August from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which could see its first launch of a massive Moonrocket since 1973.

The uncrewed test flight is slated as being necessary first steps before eventually getting human space boots back on the Moon.

Artemis I is the first test flight for SLS and Orion and will serve as a crucial test for making sure all the related systems function properly in space before the first humans climb aboard for Artemis II in 2023.

The mission is scheduled to last 42 days and will include a flyby that will take the spacecraft just 62 miles from the lunar surface, after which it will enter a wide orbit around the Moon for six days in order to collect flight data.

Key points

  • Nasa officials confirm 29 August launch date

  • Everything you need to know about Nasa’s next big space launch

Nasa's big new Moon rocket ready for liftoff

04:36 , Vishwam Sankaran

Nasa officials have said all systems appeared “go” for liftoff ahead of Monday's planned launch of the space agency’s powerful new Moon rocket.

The Nasa test director gave the “go” for rocket booster power up, and all non-essential personnel at the Kennedy Space Center left the launch pad area in preparation for propellant loading operations, the space agency announced on Sunday.

Weather forecasts say there’s an 80 per cent chance of favourable conditions for launch during the two-hour launch window starting at 8.33 AM EDT on Monday.

If the countdown is halted for any reason, Nasa has set 2 and 5 September as potential backup dates for launch.

Nasa predicts favourable weather for Artemis launch

18:47 , David Taintor

In a blog post on Sunday, Nasa said the weather forecast looked favourable ahead of Monday’s launch:

“Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 predict an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions at the beginning of the two-hour launch window that opens at 8:33 a.m. EDT Aug. 29, with a 60% change of favorable weather conditions toward the later part of the window. The primary weather concern for the two-hour launch window remains scattered rain showers. The weather guidelines for NASA’s Artemis I flight test identify conditions to launch the agency’s Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft.”

Read Nasa’s full post ahead of the launch here.

Nasa says mission ‘go for launch’

Tuesday 23 August 2022 05:57 , Vishwam Sankaran

Artemis I mission is ready for launch, Nasa announced on Monday.

The space agency’s Flight Readiness Review assessed the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft currently at the launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

It concluded that the mission is a “go for launch,” Nasa associate administrator Bob Cabana said at a press briefing.

Teams are working toward a two-hour launch window that opens at 8:33 AM EDT Monday, 29 August, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B, the agency said.

Alternative to Nasa’s dark live feed

Wednesday 17 August 2022 03:24 , Jon Kelvey

Nasa’s designated live feed of the roll out of its big SLS Moon rocket appears to be set up on the wrong side of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center, but there are alternatives for those viewers who want to see the roll out.

The center’s live feed on Youtube continues to show a dimly lit building 20 minutes after the SLS rocket began rolling out of the VAB at 10pm EDT.

As an alternative, Nasa’s Exploration Ground Systems Facebook account is offering a Facebook live video involving interviews with astronauts in front of the big door of the VAB, with the SLS and mobile launcher visible in the background.

As of 10.21pm EDT, the SLS rocket can be seen nearly fully out of the VAB, the first few steps of what will be a nearly four mile, 10 hour journey to Launch Complex 39B.

The big SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft it carries will launch from 39B no sooner than 8.33am EDT on 29 August.

SLS rollout begins

Wednesday 17 August 2022 03:10 , Jon Kelvey

Nasa’s SLS rocket has begun its slow roll out from the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, according to a Tweet by the center’s Twitter account.

As of 10.08pm EDT however, it’s still hard to make much out in the Kennedy Space Center Youtube live stream of the roll out.

Potential foul weather cause of delay in rollout

Wednesday 17 August 2022 02:59 , Jon Kelvey

According to a tweet by the Twitter account of Nasa’s Exloration Ground Systems, which manages the SLS rollout and pre-launch activities, potential storms in the area of Kennedy Space Center are the cause of the delay in the big rocket’s rollout.

Nasa had targeted a 9 p.m. roll out Tuesday evening, but the space agency now expects the big rocker will roll out no earlier than 10pm EDT

SLS rollout pushed back to no earlier than 10pm EDT

Wednesday 17 August 2022 02:54 , Jon Kelvey

Nasa has pushed back the SLS rollout once again, this time targeting no earlier than 10pm EDT Tuesday evening, according to a tweet posted by the Kennedy Space Center account.

The mobile launch on which the big rocket stands is clearly visible in the doorway of the Vehicle Assembly Building in the picture accompanying the tweet.

All lit up

Wednesday 17 August 2022 02:21 , Jon Kelvey

Although Nasa has delayed the roll out of the SLS rocket by at least a half hour until 9.30pm EDT or later Tuesday evening, the space agency has shared images of the mobile launcher that holds the rocket on social media.

In an image tweeted by Nasa’s Exploration Ground System’s Twitter account after 8pm EDT Tuesday, the mobile launcher can be seen lit up in the massive doorway of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, and against a dusky sky.

Rollout of SLS rocket pushed back to 9.30pm EDT

Wednesday 17 August 2022 02:16 , Jon Kelvey

Nasa has pushed back this evening’s rollout of the SLS and Orion until no earlier than 9.30pm EDT, leaving open the possibility the first movement of the big rocket could take place even later than the initial 9pm target.

Once SLS exits the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center where workers have readied the launch vehicle for flight, it will take around 10 hours to crawl slowly toward Launch Complex 39B.

The rocket, with the Orion spacecraft at its top, will remain on the launch pad until what is hopefully a successful launch of the Artemis I mission on 29 August, or either of the back up launch windows on 2 and 5 September.

The delay in the rollout this evening is on the balance rather small, so far, given Nasa pushed the date for the roll out up three days; SLS was originally set to stay in the VAB until Friday.

What is Nasa’s Space Launch System?

Tuesday 16 August 2022 23:01 , Johanna Chisholm

Nasa’s Space Launch System, or SLS, is the largest rocket constructed since the Saturn V rocket of the Apollo program.

In its current configuration known as Block 1, SLS consists of a core booster field by liquid hydrogen and oxygen with two solid rocket boosters mounted on its sides reminiscent of the Space Shuttle, altogether capable of producing 8.8 million pounds of thrust. That’s about 15 per cent more thrust than the Saturn V — when it launches on 29 August, SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever launched.

Together with the Orion spacecraft at its apex, SLS stands 322 feet tall, and can lift more than 90 tons into low Earth orbit. Together with the SLS Block 1 upper stage, known as the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, the launch system can deliver 27 tons of payload to the Moon.

‘Plasma’ breakthrough could let humans live on Mars

Tuesday 16 August 2022 22:01 , Johanna Chisholm

Artemis I is the first test flight for SLS and Orion and will serve as a crucial test for making sure all the related systems function properly in space before the first humans climb aboard for Artemis II in 2023. But it will also serve as a proving ground for whether or not humans can surpass the next space frontier: getting boots on the ground on Mars.

Outside of the engineering feat that it would take to physically land on the red planet, there are other more concerning restrictions. Namely, the planet is hostile for supporting human life. It does not have the oxygen required for breathing, nor the fuel for the machinery and equipment people will need to live in its desolate environment.

A new plasma breakthrough, however, could help humans live on Mars, according to the scientists who made it.

Scientists hope to build a system that would help support life as well as make the chemicals needed for processing fuels, making materials and fertilising plants.

Keep reading the full report from my colleague Andrew Griffin:

‘Plasma’ breakthrough could let humans live on Mars

Nasa says it will investigate mysterious mounds on moon in Artemis mission

Tuesday 16 August 2022 21:01 , Johanna Chisholm

In June, Nasa announced that the space agency had selected two new instrument suites for what it calls “priority” science missions in its upcoming Artemis lunar space programme, including one to explore mysterious mounds on the moon.

The American space agency has selected an instrument called the Lunar Vulkan Imaging and Spectroscopy Explorer (Lunar-Vise) to study the Gruithuisen Domes on the moon, which have puzzled scientists since they appear to have been formed by a magma rich in silica, similar in composition to granite.

Researchers say formations like these need oceans of liquid water and plate tectonics to form on earth.

Without these “key ingredients” on the moon, scientists are puzzled about how these domes formed and evolved over time.

Keep reading the full report about the mysterious space mounds on the moon from The Independent:

Nasa says it will investigate mysterious mounds on moon

How to live stream the the rollout of Nasa’s megarocket ahead of Artemis I launch

Tuesday 16 August 2022 20:00 , Johanna Chisholm

The megarocket that will be responsible for launching the Artemis I mission on 29 August begins it’s slow rollout to Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday evening.

For those who would enjoy nothing more than to bask in watching the enormous Space Launch System (SLS) make the 4km-trek to the launch pad on Tuesday, you’ll be able to scratch that itch by following Nasa’s live stream, which goes live at 3pm EST.

Follow along in the video below, or click on this link to watch on the official YouTube page:

Nasa’s first Space Launch System rocket scheduled to roll onto platform tonight

Tuesday 16 August 2022 19:04 , Johanna Chisholm

Nasa confirmed that the space agency’s Space Launch System rocket, which will be responsible for launching the Artemis I mission on 29 August, should be rolling onto Launch Pad 39B as soon as 9pm EDT on Tuesday.

Watch: Follow Nasa’s Orion Spacecraft path on the Artemis I mission

Tuesday 16 August 2022 18:24 , Johanna Chisholm

Curious to know what the path for Nasa’s Orion spacecraft will look like?

Fear not, as Lockheed Martin, an American aerospace, arms, defense and technology corporation, has released an easy to follow visualisation that will help you envision exactly what the spacecraft is doing when it launches on 29 August.

Check out the visual explainer below:

Watch: Nasa mini-doc on the assembly of the Space Launch System

Tuesday 16 August 2022 17:24 , Johanna Chisholm

As Nasa prepares for the Artemis I mission, the space agency has released a new mini documentary feature that traces the path of the assembly of the most powerful rocket Nasa engineers have ever built.

Watch documentary footage of Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s transformation into the over-300-foot-tall launch vehicle that will return humanity to the Moon.

Nasa to roll its big Moon rocket to launch pad on Tuesday, three days early

Tuesday 16 August 2022 17:11 , Johanna Chisholm

Nasa will roll its massive Moon rocket to the launch pad three days early, now targeting the evening of Tuesday 16 August to begin moving the giant launch vehicle out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Once Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is on the launch pad, preparations will begin for the first ever test flight of the big rocket currently scheduled for 8.33am EDT on 29 August. Nasa hopes that SLS, along with the Orion spacecraft it carries, will be the cornerstone of the space agency’s Artemis Moon program, which aims to return humans to the Moon by 2025.

The 29 August launch and pre-launch activities will be carried live on Nasa TV, the Nasa app, and the space agency’s website. If Nasa has to scrub the launch, additional launch windows open on 2 and 5 September.

Keep reading the full report from my colleague Jon Kelvey below:

Nasa to roll its big Moon rocket to launch pad on Tuesday, three days early

Nasa officials outline 29 August Artemis I Moon mission

Tuesday 16 August 2022 17:09 , Johanna Chisholm

Nasa’s long-awaited return to the Moon could begin as soon as 29 August, the space agency announced earlier this month during a press conference.

“The Saturn five took us to the moon, half a century ago,” Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson said. “Now, as we embark on the first Artemis test flight, we recall this agency’s storied past, but our eyes are focused not on the immediate future, but out there.”

Artemis is Nasa’s new Moon program, and the upcoming flight on 29 August is dubbed Artemis I. It will be an uncrewed test flight to test Nasa’s huge Moon rocket, the Space Launch System, or SLS, and the Orion spacecraft, which will fly to, around, and beyond the Moon before returning to Earth 42 days later.

Read the full story from The Independent below:

Nasa officials outline 29 August Artemis I Moon mission

What you need to know about Nasa’s next big space launch

Tuesday 16 August 2022 17:07 , Johanna Chisholm

The biggest rocket launch to take place since 1973 could happen later this month, as Nasa hopes to launch its new Moon rocket on its maiden test flight.

The Artemis I mission, a test flight of Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, is scheduled to lift off no earlier than 8.33am EDT on 29 August, with backup launch windows on 2 and 5 September in case weather or other concerns cause Nasa to scrub the launch.

The launch and pre-launch activities will be carried live on Nasa TV, the Nasa app, and the space agency’s website.

Here’s everything you need to know about Nasa’s next big space launch, as reported by The Independent’s Jon Kelvey:

What you need to know about Nasa’s next big space launch

Tuesday 16 August 2022 17:05 , Johanna Chisholm

Welcome to the live blog coverage of Nasa’s preparation to launch its Artemis I mission, which is scheduled for as soon as 29 August.

Follow along here for live updates of the launch.