Countdown Proceeding To Space Launch System Launch
CAPE CANAVERAL—NASA on Aug. 28 was on schedule to begin fueling the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for its inaugural flight test, with liftoff from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39B targeted for 8:33 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29.
“So far, everything looks really good,” said Jeff Spaulding, senior NASA test director for the kickoff mission in NASA’s Artemis program, the first deep-space human exploration program since the Apollo program 50 years ago.
The 46-hr. countdown to launch started on schedule at 10:23 a.m. EDT on Aug. 27. Three hours later, an afternoon thunderstorm passed through the spaceport, triggering lighting strikes at the launchpad. None proved to be a concern for flight or ground-support equipment, Spaulding said.
“We evaluated those yesterday and last night, and everything looks very good from the vehicle perspective. We haven’t had to do any significant retest,” he added.
The NASA Mission Management Team plans to meet late Aug. 28 and decide shortly before midnight Aug. 29 whether to proceed with tanking.
Meteorologists are forecasting an 80% chance of acceptable weather for a launch attempt at 8:33 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29. Conditions are expected to deteriorate to a 60% chance of launch later in the 2-hr. window.