Updated Aug 29, 2022 - Science

NASA prepares to launch SLS Moon rocket for 1st time

A sunrise photo of the Space Launch System rocket on the launch pad
The Space Launch System rocket on the launch pad at sunrise. Photo: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

NASA's Space Launch System rocket is preparing to lift off on an uncrewed journey to the Moon.

The latest: The Artemis I launch was called off on Monday due to technical issues. The earliest the space agency could launch is now Friday. Read more.

Why it matters: If and when it happens, it will mark the first launch of the SLS and represent a major milestone for NASA as the space agency works to send people back to the lunar surface for the first time since the 1970s.

Artemis I launch time

With Monday's launch scrubbed, NASA has backup launch dates set for Sept. 2 and Sept. 5.

  • But it wasn't immediately clear Monday morning whether the space agency would be able to fix the issues and target one of those days.
How to watch the launch
  • You can watch the run-up to the launch and the launch itself live on NASA TV here. NASA's Spanish-language coverage of the launch is here.

The big picture: NASA has plans to use the SLS and Orion capsule for its Artemis program, which is expected to land people on the Moon in 2025.

  • Unlike the Apollo program, NASA hopes that Artemis will be sustainable and long-lived — establishing a major presence on the Moon and a small space station in orbit that can act as a jumping-off point down to the surface.
  • The 2025 landing is expected to bring the first woman and person of color to the Moon.

Yes, but: With a big, new rocket like this, anything can happen, including unforeseen delays as we saw on Monday.

Go deeper: Technical issues delay the first launch of NASA's new Moon rocket

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details about the postponement of Monday's launch.

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