top of page

Artemis-1: NASA's Countdown to biggest test flight of the year.

SLS rocket with Orion spacecraft takes off on Monday in the test for the first crew-rated lunar spacecraft mission in 50 years

SLS/ Artemis-1 Launch Infographics

The American space agency – NASA announced on Monday, August 22, 2022, that it has released its Artemis I mission for the unmanned test flight around the Moon next week. Liftoff is scheduled for Monday, August 29, during a two-hour window that opens at 8:33 am EDT (12:33 GMT). Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 continue to predict a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch of Artemis I on Aug. 29. The primary weather concern for the two-hour launch window remains scattered rain showers.

At Launch Pad 39B, engineers have closed the launch abort system hatch and retracted the crew access arm. Teams continue to plan to begin the countdown for launch at 10:23 a.m. EDT Aug. 27

The historic mission of the so-called 'Mega Moon Rocket' (Lunar Megarocket), or Space Launch System (SLS), the first of NASA's program to “return astronauts to the Moon”, will take off from the 'Pad' 39B platform at the Space Center. Kennedy, Florida. It will be the first flight of the 98-meter Space Launch System – NASA's most powerful rocket ever – and the second test of its Orion spacecraft.

Artemis 1 is the vanguard mission of NASA's Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the moon by 2025 and land the first woman and person of color at the lunar South Pole, a region astronauts have never seen with their own eyes. The mission flight will send an uncrewed Orion capsule on a 42-day trip to orbit the moon and return to Earth to test if the spacecraft is ready to carry astronauts.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022 Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Mission managers said last Monday that they intend to force the Orion spacecraft to go beyond the original parameters for manned flights to ensure the test. The mission's 42-day marathon is longer than the standard 10-day manned flights that NASA has planned. This will give the Americans and the European Space Agency, which built the spacecraft's service module, time to identify any issues to be resolved for the first manned flight. Orion is also carrying a "Moonikin Campos” dummy and two humanoid torsos covered with sensors to measure the effects of vibration and space radiation on the human body, while ten small CubeSats will be ejected from the SLS's second stage during flight to test new imaging technologies. exploration. “We are pushing the vehicle to its limit,

That manned flight will be Artemis II, which NASA expects to fly in 2024. Artemis III, the first crewed lunar landing, is scheduled for 2025 and will use a SpaceX landing module, the Lunar Starship, to take astronauts to one of thirteen candidate sites on the Moon's South Pole. But both missions, of course, depend on how Artemis I ends up. “This will be the first flight of a new rocket and a new spacecraft,” Mike Sarafin told reporters. “We are doing something that is incredibly difficult to do and carries inherent risks.” Previously, an Orion spacecraft made a long-orbit flight in 2014, but launched by a United launch Alliance Delta-IV Heavy rocket.

“We're going to launch, which is absolutely excellent,” the agency's associate administrator, former astronaut Robert Cabana, told reporters at a news conference. “This day took a long time to come.” NASA currently has three chances to launch Artemis I in its current flight window, which opens August 29, following a Launch Readiness Review meeting.

Artemis I Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson (NASA)

NASA director of launch tests Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said the teams have two final tests to work on, one on the rocket's solid propellant boosters (extended versions of those used on shuttles) and one on the connections between the rocket and its mobile launch table. The team has an important test, to verify a fix for a leak detected in a June fueling test during to prepare the rocket engines for its super-cooled propellant, this test can only be performed on launch day.


Exploration Flight Test-1 or EFT-1 (formerly known as Orion Flight Test 1 or OFT-1) was the first test flight of the crew module of the Orion spacecraft “Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle”. It was an uncrewed launch, which took off on December 5, 2014, at 12:05 UTC, by a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The mission was a four-hour, two-orbit test of the crew capsule on a high-apogee trajectory on the second orbit and concluding with a 'high-energy' reentry at about 8.9 kilometers per second. The flight was intended to test several of the spacecraft's systems, including separation events, avionics, heat shield, parachute, and recovery operations prior to its flight aboard the Space Launch System on Artemis 1, more than seven years after EFT-1. This was a mission corresponding to 1967's Apollo 4, which validated the Apollo spacecraft's flight control system and heat shield under the re-entry conditions planned for the return of the lunar missions.


Artemis-1 Secondary Payloads