Nasa Artemis moon mission launch planned for Wednesday

Nasa will try to launch its Artemis moon mission on Wednesday, after a series of failed attempts earlier in the year.

Nasa is now targeting 6.04am for the launch of Artemis 1, which will test the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, Orion spacecraft, and the ground systems at the agency’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The uncrewed mission around the moon will pave the way for a crewed, flight test and future human lunar exploration as part of Artemis.

(PA Graphics)

Mission managers met on Monday to discuss the flight readiness of the rocket and spacecraft after it was slightly damaged by Hurricane Nicole.

They determined that there is a low likelihood that if additional material tears off it would pose a critical risk to the flight.

They gave the launch “go” to proceed, and final checks are being carried out before the launch window on Wednesday.

The 322ft (98m) tall SLS rocket, the world’s most powerful rocket to date, is due to take the Orion capsule, powered by the Airbus-built European Service Module (ESM), into the moon’s orbit.

The flight, which will carry mannequins rather than astronauts, marks the next chapter in putting humans back on the moon.

There will be people on board for subsequent missions, with the first crewed flight into space scheduled for 2024.