Sept. 2, Sept. 5 Backup Dates For SLS Launch

One of two solid rocket boosters for the Artemis I Space Launch System.
Credit: Frank Michaux/NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL—NASA has resolved an issue with the U.S. Space Force’s Eastern Range that will expand launch opportunities for the first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, currently targeted to lift off at 8:33 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29 on the Artemis I flight test.

The issue concerned the rocket’s Flight Termination System (FTS), which has a battery certified for 20 days. If the SLS has not launched by then, it will have to be removed from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39B and returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to have the FTS battery replaced prior to additional launch attempts.

The 20-day clock begins with the battery’s installation, which is scheduled to take place just before the SLS and the Orion capsule are rolled out of the VAB on Aug. 18.

In addition to a launch attempt on Aug. 29, NASA is holding Sept. 2 and Sept. 5 as backup dates, though the latter date would be on the margin of the battery’s 20-day certification.

“That’s been worked out so we do have all three [launch] opportunities available to us,” Debbie Korth, Orion program deputy manager at Johnson Space Center, told Aerospace DAILY on Aug. 11.

Irene Klotz

Irene Klotz is Senior Space Editor for Aviation Week, based in Cape Canaveral. Before joining Aviation Week in 2017, Irene spent 25 years as a wire service reporter covering human and robotic spaceflight, commercial space, astronomy, science and technology for Reuters and United Press International.