DENVER (KDVR) — UPDATE: The Artemis 1 launch was scrubbed on Monday due to fuel leaks. The soonest opportunity for another launch will be Sept. 2.

The nation’s eyes were on the sky Monday morning as crews planned to launch a new spacecraft.

History is expected to be made as NASA’s Artemis I mission takes off. It’s one of the most anticipated launches in years, especially for a crew at Lockheed Martin in Denver.  

Structural testing in Denver confirmed Orion’s design is sound and the spacecraft is ready for deep-space missions.

Tests by Denver crews ensured the spacecraft structures can withstand intense loads and vibrational forces at launch and entry, as well as the powerful pyrotechnic blasts needed for critical separation events, and even potential lightning strikes, according to NASA. 

“The heat shield is built here, we build a lot of the electronic components that have gone on spacecraft, and a lot of engineering has been done here in Colorado itself,” said Ron Nelthorpe, with Lockheed Martin.

At Lockheed Martin in Denver, teams worked round-the-clock for days at a time to prepare the tests, execute, tear down then reconfigure the STA for the next test, culminating in 330 actual days of testing, NASA said.

When the flight was scrubbed due to issues, a collective aww came from the crowd.

“That’s the reason why we have multiple launch days is for you know, for contingency for any of the like you mentioned weather but no, I think it’d be good. It’s a test flight. You know, we’re hoping to get a lot of data from it,” Nelthorpe said.

According to NASA, during some test phases, engineers pushed expected pressures, mechanical loads, vibration, and shock conditions up to 40% beyond the most severe conditions anticipated during the mission, analyzing data to confirm that spacecraft structures can withstand the extreme environments of space.

About the mission

During this flight, NASA said the spacecraft will launch the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.

In the course of a 4-6 week mission, the craft will travel 280,000 miles from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the moon.

Mission Facts:
Launch date: Aug. 29, 2022
Mission duration: 42 days, 3 hours, 20 minutes
Total distance traveled: 1.3 miIlion miles
Re-entry speed: 24,500 mph (Mach 32)
Splashdown: Oct. 10, 2022

NASA said Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station, returning home faster and hotter than ever before.

In the coming years, Orion will be responsible for carrying the first woman and person of color to the moon.