The NASA Artemis Moon Rocket Launch Countdown Begins

The NASA Artemis Moon Rocket Launch Countdown Begins

The countdown to NASA’s Artemis II launch is underway for an expected launch from Florida’s space coast on Wednesday, though damage sustained during Hurricane Nicole could delay the rocket’s journey a little longer.

Like Hurricane Nicole made landing in Florida Last Thursday, high winds caused a 10-foot piece of caulk near the crew pod on top of the missile, the Associated Press reported.

NASA logo with Artemis I rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 02: NASA’s Artemis I rocket sits on Launch Pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center on September 02, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Artemis I first tried was scrubbed after a problem was found on one of the rocks ((Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) / Getty Images)

This is the first test flight for the 322-foot rocket, which will launch Wednesday at 1:04 a.m. from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida — the crew capsule this go-around will not be manned by astronauts, but test dummies will take to space.


Mission managers fear that the peeled seal, while narrow, could damage the missile if it breaks. They are expected to make a final decision on whether or not to go ahead with the launch sometime Monday night, the AP said.

“Artemis I will be the first in a series of increasingly complex missions to build a long-lasting human presence on the moon for decades to come,” NASA said on its website. “The primary goals of Artemis I are to demonstrate Orion’s systems in a spaceflight environment and ensure safe reentry, descent, landing and recovery prior to the first crewed flight on Artemis II.”

Rocket ship

The NASA moon rocket is ready less than 24 hours before it is scheduled to launch on Pad 39B for the Artemis 1 lunar orbit mission at Kennedy Space Center, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (AP Newsroom)

Over the course of 25 days, 11 hours and 36 minutes, the spacecraft will travel 1.3 million miles, and when it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, it is expected to travel at 24,500 mph, or Mach 32, before crashing on December 11.


While in space, the spacecraft will orbit the Earth, deploying solar panels and the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, or ICPS, to gain enough propulsion to exit the planet’s orbit and travel to the moon, said NASA on its site.

It will take several days to get to the moon, but once there it will fly 62 miles above the moon’s surface and use gravity to propel the Orion spacecraft about 40,000 miles from the moon for orbit.

NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft is seen atop the mobile launch vehicle on Launch Pad 39B as teams configure systems to roll back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space (Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)/Fox News)

It will then orbit the moon for six days before returning to Earth. Once the spacecraft returns, it is expected to land off the coast of Baja, California.

The AP reported that the $4 billion mission has been grounded since August due to fuel leaks and… Hurricane Ian.


NASA moved the rocket to its hangar during Hurricane Ian, but it remained on the launch pad for Hurricane Nicole.

The last time NASA sent astronauts to the moon was during the final mission of the Apollo program in December 1972.

NASA moon rover

NASA is using this prototype pressurized lunar rover to learn about current technological limitations to help build a newer version for future Artemis missions. (FOX/Fox News)

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