TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In just a few days, NASA will take a major step in its plan to send the United States back to the moon when it attempts to launch Artemis I — and as of Friday, it seems the weather will cooperate with that plan.
NASA’s Artemis program plans on landing the first woman and the first person of color on the moon, and explore more of the moon’s surface. The last time humans stepped foot on the moon was 50 years ago under the Apollo program.
Artemis I, the first mission of the Artemis program, is scheduled to launch on Monday, Aug. 29 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force said Thursday that weather appeared 70% favorable during the two-hour launch window, which opens at 8:33 a.m. ET. An updated forecast released Friday also kept the weather at 70% favorable.
The Space Force is, however, keeping an eye on scattered rain showers, according to NASA.
“While the overall lightning threat seems low, this onshore flow regime will promote scattered showers across the Atlantic waters through the launch window,” the Space Force said. “As a result, the primary weather concerns for a Monday morning attempt will be the Cumulus Cloud Rule, Surface Electric Fields Rule and the Flight Through Precipitation constraint.”
NASA has a list of weather criteria that must be met in order to go ahead with a launch. The agency watches for temperature, wind, precipitation, lightning, clouds and solar activity.
If weather remains favorable and all systems are a go, Artemis I will launch NASA’s mega moon Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft from Launch Pad 39B – the same pad Apollo 10 launched from.
Artemis I is an uncrewed mission, meaning there will be no humans on the flight. NASA calls it “the first in a series of increasingly complex missions.”
“The mission will demonstrate the performance of the SLS rocket and test Orion’s capabilities over the course of about six weeks as it travels about 40,000 miles beyond the Moon and back to Earth,” NASA explained.
WFLA’s Amanda Holly will be at Kennedy Space Center Monday morning for the scheduled launch and will provide live coverage on News Channel 8 Today and WFLA.com.