Nasa is all set to launch its ambitious Artemis-1 mission to the Moon on Wednesday. The mission is aimed at demonstrating the technological advancement in designs, systems, and life support of the spacecraft that has been made in the 50 years since humans last walked on the Moon in 1972.

The Space Launch System (SLS) with the Orion spacecraft will launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral in a two-hour launch window that opens at 11:34 am. The launch will be a foundation for a future crewed mission as countries from across the world ready their plans to launch to the Moon.

The Orion spacecraft will travel a distance of over 60,000 kilometers away from the Moon and return with a splashdown in December on Earth. While no humans will be onboard the demonstration flight, dummies are being sent on the journey, who will measure the acoustics, radiations, and vibrations to further better the systems when humans jump onboard.


This is not the first time that the American space agency is attempting to get the mission off ground. There have been two such attempts in the past that had been hit by leaks and engine issues forcing Nasa to abandon the attempt. The third attempt was initially scheduled for last month, but the arrival of Hurricane Ian forced the agency to remove the massive rocket from the launch pad.

The launch attempt in September was troubled by hydrogen leaks as the escaping hydrogen exceeded flammability limits by two or three times. Hydrogen molecules are exceedingly small — the smallest in existence — and even the tiniest gap or crevice can provide a way out. Nasa’s space shuttles, now retired, were plagued by hydrogen leaks. The new moon rocket uses the same type of main engines.

During the first attempt, the rocket was hit by an engine snag as engineers were unable to properly chill one of the rocket’s four main engines. They struggled to pinpoint the source of the problem well after the launch postponement was announced and while the fault did not appear to be with the engine, it was with the plumbing leading to it.

As engineers tried to troubleshoot that problem on the launch pad, yet another hydrogen leak developed, this one involving a vent valve higher up on the rocket, Sarafin said.

When the rocket returned to the pad for the third attempt, nature played the villain. With Hurricane Ian barreling down on Florida, Nasa decided to remove the rocket from the pad and further delay the launch to November.

The space agency wants to send the capsule into lunar orbit on a trial run, before putting astronauts on the next flight, in 2024. That around-the-moon mission would pave the way for the first human moon landing in 50 years, currently scheduled for 2025.

Years behind schedule and billions over budget, Artemis aims to establish a sustained human presence on the moon, with crews eventually spending weeks at a time there. It’s considered a training ground for Mars.


India today