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NASA targets Sept. 23 for next Artemis 1 launch attempt, but a lot has to go right

NASA’s next attempt to launch its new megarocket on a test flight to the moon could lift off by Sept. 23, but only if the agency fixes a leak and receives a critical waiver from the U.S. Space Force. 

Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development, said today (Sept. 8) that NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission launch — the debut of its giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket — could lift off on Sept. 23 or Sept. 27. Those launch dates depend on a number of requirements, including NASA securing a waiver to extend the time needed to check batteries on the SLS’ flight termination system (FTS), which is designed to destroy the rocket if it veers off course during launch. 

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