NASA sets tentative launch dates for debut of its massive new rocket

Photo by GREGG NEWTON / Gregg Newton / AFP via Getty Images

NASA is aiming to launch its new monster rocket, the Space Launch System, on its first trip to deep space as early as late August, the agency announced today. NASA says it has placeholder dates for August 29th, September 2nd, and September 5th for the rocket’s debut, though there is still plenty of work left to do on the vehicle between now and then.

The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a major component of NASA’s Artemis program, the agency’s initiative to send humans back to the Moon. Designed to carry NASA’s Orion crew capsule into deep space, the rocket is slated to perform a series of missions over the next few years that should eventually culminate with astronauts landing on the lunar surface again. But first, NASA wants to see it…

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