After two hurricanes and many mechanical issues delayed its launch, NASA’s Artemis I mission might actually launch this week.
NASA started its launch countdown early Monday morning. The organization said the mission’s rocket and spacecraft could launch Wednesday. A two-hour launch window begins at 1:04 a.m.
Officials said early Monday that the weather is projected to be 90% favorable for a launch.
The latest delay occurred in recent days. NASA had to halt launch preparations after Hurricane Nicole struck the east coast of Florida last week. NASA had been preparing for a launch on Monday.
NASA opted to keep Artemis on the launching pad days after rolling it back to the launch site. The rocket was moved indoors in late September due to Hurricane Ian.
Following Hurricane Nicole, the rocket had minor damage, but officials said they expect to have repairs made in time for Wednesday.
The Artemis I mission has been delayed multiple times since officials first tried to launch it Aug. 29. The spacecraft had issues with a hydrogen leak that required NASA to reseal a tank. After performing bleed tests on the tank in September, NASA planned on moving forward with a launch before Hurricane Ian’s development.
The next Artemis mission isn't scheduled until 2024. While Artemis I will be unmanned, Artemis II will send four astronauts on a flyby of the moon. Artemis III is expected to include a crewed mission to the moon's surface.
NASA has not said whether the months of delays to Artemis I could push back the launch of Artemis II.