ARTEMIS 1 LAUNCH LIVE: ‘Countdown clock on hold’ as NASA engineers investigate engine problems and crack in the body of Space Launch System rocket – which was due to blast off on 42-day journey around the moon today
NASA is preparing the launch of the unmanned Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule as part of the agency’s Artemis I mission
The launch is scheduled for between 08:33 and 10:33 ET (13:33 and 15:33 BST) today, but the countdown clock is currently on a hold at T-40 minutes, while engineers investigate an engine issue.
The Artemis I mission is a vital first step if the US space agency is to achieve its goal of landing humans on the lunar surface in three years’ time, possibly including the first woman and first person of colour.
The mission will see an uncrewed Orion spacecraft circle the moon and return to Earth after a 42-day, 1.3 miIlion-mile voyage.
If all goes to plan, another flight will follow in 2024 – this time with astronauts on board – before human boots once again grace the lunar surface a year later as part of NASA’s ambitious $93 billion (£63 billion) Artemis program.
People in campervans have been arriving at Cape Canaveral over the weekend, all vying for the best view of the enormous rocket’s lift-off.
Over 200,000 people are expected to line the beaches and causeways around the Kennedy Space Center to watch the launch, while millions more around the world will tune in on television.
MailOnline will be providing live updates of the launch in the blog below: