If you are interested in what is being launched from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), you can easily view this information at this website. For example, on May 19th, the Boeing CST-100 Starliner will be tested in orbit as it becomes another candidate to resupply the International Space Station. The site also highlights other interesting events and anniversaries, such as the December 7th 50th anniversary of the Apollo 17th launch.
One place holder on the KSC schedule with no clear date is the inaugural launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the first phase of the Artemis Program. In a recent press release, NASA outlined the parameters for such a launch as well as the remaining days in 2022 that would satisfy these parameters. The four parameters are:
- The Moon’s position in its lunar cycle;
- A trajectory so Orion is not in darkness for more than 90 minutes at a time so that the solar array wings can receive and convert sunlight to electricity and the spacecraft can maintain an optimal temperature range;
- A trajectory that allows for the skip entry technique planned during Orion’s return to Earth; and
- Daylight conditions for Orion’s splashdown to initially assist recovery personnel when they locate, secure, and retrieve the spacecraft from the Pacific Ocean.
The calendar still has plenty of possible dates. The question now is whether NASA can get all of the pieces together in time to make this happen in 2022.