NASA Starts Countdown for Artemis I Launch

Barring any additional delays, Artemis I will head to the stars in a matter of hours. Monday afternoon, NASA officials confirmed plans to launch Artemis I in the twilight hours on Wednesday, November 16th. The space agency officially began its extended countdown Monday morning, proceeding with a pre-launch checklist that needs to be completed before the launch takes place. As it stands now, a two-hour launch window begins at 1:04 a.m. Eastern on November 16th.

According to a blog post on the NASA website, all systems of the Artemis I have been powered up as teams continue making its way down the checklist. Artemis I is made up of the SLS rocket that will propel the Orion capsule on a mission around the Moon. Coverage of the launch will begin on NASA TV beginning at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, November 15th. NASA TV is streaming free on YouTube, or you can watch below.

This time around, the Orion capsule will remain uncrewed as teams gather the necessary data to ensure future missions in the program pose no harm to astronauts. Eventually, the Artemis mission hopes to land America on the Moon by 2024.

What is the Artemis I mission about?

Artemis I officially kicks off NASA's Artemis program, arguably the biggest effort NASA has coordinated in recent memory. While Artemis I is uncrewed, future installments such as Artemis II and Artemis III will include full crews of astronauts in an attempt to get the United States back on the moon.

Should all go to plan and Artemis I is ready for its November 16th launch, officials would launch the rocket at 1:04 a.m. Eastern. The capsule would then spend two weeks in space before flying around the moon and splashdown on December 11th. Should November 16th fall through, officials already have a back-up launch strategy for Saturday, November 19th.