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Weather looks good for Artemis 1 moon mission launch, NASA says

nasa megarocket on launch pad with clouds behind
A sunrise view of NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft for Artemis I on the pad at Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 22, 2022. Liftoff is set for Aug. 29. (Image credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — It looks like Mother Nature may cooperate for NASA's historic Artemis 1 megarocket launch to the moon on Monday (Aug. 29). 

The weather outlook has improved for the planned Artemis 1 launch at 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT) on Monday from Pad 39B here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Forecasters are predicting a promising 80% chance of good liftoff conditions, up from 70% yesterday, officials said. You can watch the launch live online Monday starting at at 6:30 a.m. EDT (1030 GMT). 

Melody Lovin, weather officer with U.S. Space Force's Space Launch 45 group, said the best weather for Artemis 1 is at the start of its two-hour window. As the morning wears on, there is a higher chance of rainy weather, she said in a NASA briefing today. By the window's end at 10:33 a.m. EDT (1433 GMT), the chances of good weather drop to 60%.

Related: NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission: Live updates
More: 10 wild facts about the Artemis 1 moon mission

SLS model rocket kit

Estes NASA SLS Model Rocket

(Image credit: Amazon)

You can launch a Space Launch System of your own with this Estes NASA SLS model rocket (opens in new tab) for a 1:200 scale version of NASA's moon megarocket. Read more about it.

"As we move forward in time through the two-hour launch window, we just have a better chance of some of those offshore showers and thunderstorms even closer to the coastline," Lovin told reporters. 

Artemis 1 is NASA's first test flight of its Space Launch System (SLS) moon rocket and its Orion spacecraft. The uncrewed mission will send a sensor-laden Orion capsule on a 42-day shakedown cruise around the moon to verify that that both vehicles are ready to fly astronauts into deep space. 

If all goes well, NASA will launch four astronauts around the moon in 2024 on the Artemis 2 mission. That mission will set the stage for Artemis 3, the first crewed lunar landing, in 2025.

So far, the SLS rocket and Orion are in good shape and facing no technical issues for launch, Jeff Spaulding, NASA's Artemis 1 senior test director, said in the update today. Even a series of lightning strikes at the Artemis 1 launch pad Saturday, five of them in all, weren't strong enough to post a concern for launch, he said.

About the only thing engineers are watching is a slight drop in helium tank pressure on ground equipment, but it's not expected to pose an issue for launch, Spaulding added.

 "I will say my thoughts are really grateful tomorrow," Spaulding said, adding that the entire NASA launch team is excited after years of work. "Love the fact that the weather looks really like it's going to cooperate."

If NASA cannot launch Artemis 1 on Monday, the agency could try again on Sept. 2 and Sept. 5 as backup days. 

Tune in on Monday to watch NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission launch online. A live fueling webcast will begin at 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT) with a launch webcast beginning at 6:30 a.m. EDT (1030 GMT). Liftoff is at 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT).

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Tariq Malik
Editor-in-Chief

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.