NASA is aiming for a test flight of a giant moon rocket in late August


Cape Canaveral: On the 53rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA announced Wednesday that it is shooting for a late August launch of its giant, new moon rocket.
NASA will attempt a more than month-long lunar test flight beginning August 29 with three mannequins, but no astronauts. There are also two launch dates in early September, before NASA has to stand still for two weeks.
NASA’s Jim Free noted that the test flight begins with “our Artemis Return to the Moon program.” The space agency’s new lunar program is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology.
The 30-story Space Launch System rocket and attached Orion capsule are currently in a hangar at Kennedy Space Center, following repairs stemming from last month’s countdown test. Fuel leaks and other technical difficulties arose during NASA’s repeated launch rehearsals at the pad.
NASA officials assured reporters on Wednesday that the problems had been resolved and that the test was nearly complete.
But they warned that launch dates could slip depending on Florida’s volatile weather and issues that arise before the rocket returns to the pad on August 18.
“We’ll be careful,” said Frei, head of exploration systems development.
At 322 feet (98 m), the rocket and Orion capsule are taller than the Statue of Liberty.
If Orion’s trip to the moon and back goes well, astronauts could board the ship for a loop around the moon in 2023 and actually land in 2025.
Astronauts last explored the Moon in 1972. The first of the 12 Moonwalkers, Neil Armstrong And Buzz AldrinStepped onto the dusty gray surface on July 20, 1969, when Michael Collins orbited the moon.
Aldrin, 92, the only survivor of the three, noted the anniversary in a tweet: “Neil, Michael and I are proud to represent America as we take that giant leap for mankind. It was a moment that united the world and America’s finest hour.

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