NASA’s first SLS Moon rocket launching as early as February 2022, later windows available

Artemis I Orion capsule in VAB

NASA representatives released launch windows for the agency’s Artemis I mission, launching on the newly stacked Space Launch System, in a call with the media.

SLS’s maiden launch as soon as February 12th

The first launch window for NASA’s Artemis I mission opens on February 12 at 5:56 p.m. EDT – yes, we have dates and times for this long-awaited mission. The February window lasts two weeks, with the first half of that window allowing a six-week mission and a four-week mission on the back half.

If NASA cannot launch Artemis I during the February window, which would not be surprising, they have more windows in March and April.

Artemis I launch windows

  • February 12 – 26
  • March 12 – 26
  • April 8 – 23

This launch window announcement follows teams finishing the assembly of Artemis I’s SLS rocket in Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building this week. This is the first time all the separate parts of the rocket have been assembled, forming NASA’s most powerful rocket ever built.

First up will be another wet dress rehearsal

NASA plans to conduct a wet dress rehearsal similar to what was seen during the Core Stage’s Green Run test. If you remember, these tests were filled with several minor and major issues that caused long delays to the testing. Hopefully, the Green Run testing campaign will pay off, and this time around, these new tests will go much more smoothly. For these final tests, it will use all flight hardware and will include ground systems that have been preparing for this for several years.

Teams are preparing to roll out the rocket from the VAB to LC-39B later this year and will conduct the WDR in early January. However, NASA officials stated there is still a good amount to go over before doing the WDR, including testing on the Orion capsule and a mock countdown of the rocket. So, while having launch windows is excellent news for Artemis I, we are still a long way from having a solid launch date for the first Artemis Program mission.

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