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NASA targets launch dates for Huntsville-built rocket to kickoff Artemis I mission

NASA officials on Wednesday announced three targeted launch dates for the Huntsville-assembled Space Launch System (SLS), which will mark the beginning of the agency’s Artemis I mission.

During a news conference, Jim Free, the associate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, said that the launch would occur either August 29, September 2 or September 5.

The ambitious program, beginning with the first phase of Artemis I, will see the return of Americans to the lunar surface by 2025. Additionally, the mission will see the first woman and person of color make landing on the moon.

RELATED: NASA officials set sights on deep space with Artemis mission, SLS program — ‘It all begins right here in the Rocket City’

The SLS, which NASA says will be the most powerful rocket in the world, is the first primary launch vehicle for the multi-phase Artemis mission.

This summer’s uncrewed launch will see the SLS take liftoff from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The rocket will send the Orion Spacecraft beyond the moon and return to earth.

According to the Marshall Space Flight Center, over 1,100 companies have partnered in support of the SLS program, which has generated $5.5 billion in economic impact and created over 28,000 jobs nationwide.

Aerospace industry giants such as Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Teledyne Brown, United Launch Alliance (ULA), Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, all of whom conduct critical space-related operations in Huntsville, have played vital roles in ensuring the successful construction of the rocket.

The timing of Wednesday’s announcement was a nod to history as it came on the 53rd anniversary of the United States placing the first man on the moon.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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