NASA yesterday announced that it is targeting August 29, 2022 for the first unmanned launch of its SLS rocket.
NASA is tentatively targeting Aug. 29 for the long-awaited maiden flight of the agency’s huge Space Launch System moon rocket, officials said Wednesday. But they cautioned major challenges remain for the oft-delayed rocket and an official date will not be set until later.
As it stands, the launch processing schedule is extremely tight and depends on successful checkout of a repaired hydrogen line fitting, good results from end-to-end pre-flight checks of the rocket’s myriad other systems and getting everything done in time to haul it back out to the launch pad by around Aug. 18.
If any delays occur, this launch window extends until September 6th. If they can’t make that date, the next launch window opens on September 19th.
The mission, to send the Orion capsule around the Moon and back, would last 42 days and if launched as planned would return October 10th.
The announcement also slipped in this tidbit:
If the initial test flight goes well, NASA plans to launch four astronauts atop the second SLS rocket for an around-the-moon shakedown flight in 2024 — Artemis 2 — before sending the first woman and the first person of color to a landing near the moon’s south pole in 2025 or 2026 as part of the Artemis 3 mission. [emphasis mine]
This I think is the first time NASA officials have hinted that the launch might be delayed to ’26. It is no surprise, but as they have always done with SLS, they give these hints softly, prepping the press so that it doesn’t make news.
As for the disgraceful unseemly focus on race and sex, it appears that NASA is now an apartheid state. The make-up of missions will no longer be determined by skill and experience, but by ethnic considerations, with favoritism always given to minorities or women.
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