NASA launches two-day countdown for Artemis I mission

The countdown officially started at 9:53 a.m. on Saturday, according to a tweet from NASA’s Artemis account.
The countdown began once launch teams arrived at their stations at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch schedule was shaped by lessons learned from the wetsuit rehearsal, conducted on August 22. The rehearsal simulated almost every part of the launch, including loading the spacecraft with jet fuel – but stopped short of lifting off.
The first tasks are to fill the water tank for the soundproofing system, prepare the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen systems, power up the Orion spacecraft if it is not already powered up , power up the interim cryogenic booster stage, power up the core stage, and prepare the four RS-25 engines, according to a launch schedule on NASA’s website.

The Artemis I rocket is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center Monday between 8:33 a.m. and 10:33 a.m. ET, assuming the weather is favorable. The stack, made up of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft, is 322 feet tall (98 meters high).

The Artemis I mission is the first step in NASA’s plan to return humans to the Moon, 50 years after the last manned trip to the Moon. If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will orbit the moon, traveling 1.3 million miles in just 42 days, before crashing off the coast of California in October.

The launch will set the stage for NASA’s goal of landing the first woman and first person of color on the moon by 2025 – and eventually, to tackle human exploration of Mars.

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