Once assembly is complete and the rocket is brought to Pad 39B, NASA will then conduct practice countdowns and fueling tests. The mobile launcher will then return SLS to the assembly building for “final closeouts, inspections, and ordnance connections,” and then roll it back to the pad about six days before launch, as SpaceFlightNow reports.


Should Artemis I go as planned, we can then look forward to Artemis II (probably in 2023), in which a crewed Orion spacecraft will zip around the Moon—no landing just yet—and return to Earth. The Artemis III mission, currently scheduled for 2024, will attempt to land two American astronauts, a man and a woman, on the lunar surface for the first time since the Apollo missions.

These dates are subject to change, however, as the Biden administration reconsiders the current timeline. No sense in rushing this when lives will be on the line.