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  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  NASA's Artemis-1 mission (Orion/SLS) (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   NASA's Artemis-1 mission (Orion/SLS)
Robert Pearlman
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NASA photo release
Artemis I Core Stage Transported to Its New Home

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage for the Artemis I mission arrived on April 27, 2021, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The core stage arrived aboard the Pegasus barge from NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf.

The core stage is shown being transported into the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building on a self-propelled module transporter on April 29, 2021. Teams from the center’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs will perform checkouts ahead of integrating the massive rocket stage with the twin solid rocket boosters, Orion spacecraft, and additional flight hardware ahead of the Artemis I launch.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA release
Orion Spacecraft Adorned with Iconic NASA Worm Logo

The Orion spacecraft receives another iconic NASA "worm" logo ahead of the Artemis I mission. On April 28 teams with the agency's Exploration Ground Systems and lead contractor Jacobs completed painting the retro insignia on the outboard wall of the spacecraft's crew module adapter (CMA) – the piece of hardware connecting the crew module to the European-built service module – inside the Multi-Payload Processing Facility (MPPF) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Above: NASA's iconic worm logo has been added to the outward-facing wall of Orion's crew module adapter (CMA) inside the Multi-Payload Processing Facility (MPPF) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the background is the Space Launch System rocket's Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, undergoing fueling and servicing inside the MPPF alongside the CMA. (NASA/Glenn Benson)

While a decal of the historic logo was added to the underside of the CMA in September 2020, having it painted on the siding of the spacecraft will make it visible as the spacecraft is poised atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, awaiting liftoff from Kennedy's Launch Pad 39B.

The worm logo was officially introduced in 1975, retired in 1992, and then made a comeback in 2020, just as NASA entered a new era of human spaceflight. In addition to its appearance on the CMA, the bright red logo also was painted on the SLS twin solid rocket boosters in August 2020.

The Orion spacecraft and Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) – the upper stage of the rocket responsible for sending Orion on its journey around the Moon – are currently being fueled and serviced in the MPPF. Once fueling is complete, Orion will move to the Launch Abort System Facility for integration of its launch abort system, while the ICPS will move to the Vehicle Assembly Building to be stacked on the mobile launcher.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA release
Purposeful Passenger: Artemis I Manikin Helps Prepare for Moon Missions With Crew

When NASA's Orion spacecraft launches aboard the powerful Space Launch System rocket for the spacecraft's first mission around the Moon later this year, a suited manikin will be aboard outfitted with sensors to provide data on what crew members may experience in flight. As part of the uncrewed Artemis I flight test, NASA is seeking to learn how best to protect astronauts for Artemis II, the first mission with crew.

Manikins have long been used as human stand-ins for various industries, such as training for emergency rescues, developing equipment for extreme environments without risking potential harm to human subjects, and assessing potential injuries in other applications.

The manikin flying on Artemis I will occupy the commander's seat inside Orion, be equipped with two radiation sensors, and wear a first-generation Orion Crew Survival System suit – a spacesuit astronauts will wear during launch, entry, and other dynamic phases of their missions.

The manikin's seat will be outfitted with two sensors – one under the headrest and another behind the seat – to record acceleration and vibration throughout the mission. The seats are positioned in a recumbent, or laid-back, position with elevated feet to help maintain blood flow to the head during ascent and entry. The position also reduces the chance of injury by allowing the head and feet to be held into position during launch and landing, and by distributing forces across the entire torso during high acceleration and deceleration periods, like splashdown.

Above: At NASA's Langley Research Center, crash-test dummies were outfitted with suits and sensors then secured in an Orion test article before being dropped into the Hydro Impact Basin. The drop tests helped engineers assess, and mitigate, potential injuries to crew from splashdowns after deep space missions. (NASA)

The crew is expected to experience 2.5 times the force of gravity during ascent and four times the force of gravity at two different points during the planned reentry profile. Engineers will compare Artemis I flight data with previous ground-based vibration tests with the same manikin, and human subjects, to correlate performance prior to Artemis II.

"Some data collected from Artemis I will be used for Orion crew simulations and to verify crew safety by comparing flight vibration and acceleration against pre-flight predictions, then making model refinements as necessary," said Dr. Mark Baldwin, Orion's occupant protection specialist for lead contractor Lockheed Martin.

Five additional accelerometers inside Orion will provide data for comparing vibration and acceleration between the upper and lower seats. As Orion splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, all accelerometers will measure impact on these seat locations for comparison to data from water impact tests at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia to verify accuracy of pre-flight models.

"It's critical for us to get data from the Artemis I manikin to ensure all of the newly designed systems, coupled with an energy dampening system that the seats are mounted on, integrate together and provide the protection crew members will need in preparation for our first crewed mission on Artemis II," said Jason Hutt, NASA lead for Orion Crew Systems Integration.

This same manikin was previously used in a series of Orion vibration tests, both at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to verify it was an accurate physical representation for testing on Artemis I, to qualify the Orion seat for Artemis missions, and to determine if the crew displays will be readable during launch and climb to orbit.

Manikins have also served as body doubles during training scenarios to ensure astronauts are able to perform medical interventions successfully while traveling inside the Orion spacecraft, such as CPR or the Heimlich maneuver. For example, Astronauts use a manikin for training on the ground and on the International Space Station that requires crew members administering CPR to anchor both themselves and the patient to perform the life-saving measure successfully without gravity.

Similarly, tests that risk injuring human subjects are demonstrated with a manikin before bringing in crew members, such as crew module uprighting system evaluations intended to ensure the spacecraft is right-side up after splashdown.

"We tested a spacecraft uprighting system failure scenario with manikins to determine if astronauts could safely get out of their seats in the event they were stuck upside down in the water after splashdown," said Hutt. "The manikin was subjected to a series of drops as engineers confidently figured out how crew could safely climb out of Orion after spending a couple of weeks in deep space."

Similar to manikins, NASA uses Anthropometric Test Devices, or "crash test dummies," that are equipped with various instruments for other crew safety evaluations. Dummies are used in tests that drop a test version of Orion from an aircraft, with the final set of tests scheduled for later this year, to verify the Artemis II seat and suit can limit the risk of head and neck injury during the most severe acceleration environments – abort and landing. During water impact drop tests at Langley, dummies also occupied crew capsule prototypes to help engineers better understand what Orion and its crew may experience when landing in the ocean after missions to the Moon.

Above: During NASA's Artemis I mission, two identical 'phantom' torsos named Helga and Zohar will be equipped with radiation detectors while flying aboard Orion to measure the effects of radiation in space, and to test for protection with Zohar wearing a vest, while Helga will not. (StemRad)

Also along for the journey during Artemis I, and contributing radiation data, are two other occupants – identical phantom torsos named Helga and Zohar – which will occupy the lower two seats on Orion. Helga and Zohar will be part of a study called Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE), which is designed to measure the amount of space radiation astronauts may experience inside Orion during missions to the Moon, and to assess a radiation-shielding vest – called AstroRad – that may reduce exposure. The vest is currently being evaluated by astronauts on the International Space Station for fit and function.

Each of these purposeful passengers aboard Orion inform astronaut working conditions and safety, helping NASA and its partners better prepare for – and minimize – the potentially harmful effects from deep space missions for space travel farther from Earth, and longer in duration, than ever before.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA release
Backbone of Space Launch System joins boosters for Artemis I

The core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for NASA's Artemis I mission has been placed on the mobile launcher in between the twin solid rocket boosters inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

The boosters attach at the engine and intertank sections of the core stage. Serving as the backbone of the rocket, the core stage supports the weight of the payload, upper stage, and crew vehicle, as well as carrying the thrust of its four engines and two five-segment solid rocket boosters.

After the core stage arrived on April 27, engineers with Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs brought the core stage into the VAB for processing work and then lifted it into place with one of the five overhead cranes in the facility.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA release
Stage adapter stacked for Artemis I

Workers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida have stacked the launch vehicle stage adapter atop the Space Launch System rocket's core stage inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Engineers with Exploration Ground Systems used one of five VAB cranes to lift the adapter almost 250 feet in the air and then slowly lower it on to the core stage.

The adapter is the cone shaped piece that connects the rocket's core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS), which will provide the Orion spacecraft with the additional thrust needed to travel tens of thousands of miles beyond the moon.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA photo release
Teams with Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. stacked the Orion Stage Adapter (OSA) Structural Test Article (STA) on top of NASA's Space Launch System in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on August 9, 2021. The OSA is the adapter between the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) and the Orion Crew and Service Module (CSM).

The OSA STA and Mass Simulator for Orion (MSO) will remain stacked through Umbilical Release and Retract Test as Orion CSM/Launch Abort System final assembly continues in the Launch Abort System Facility.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA release
NASA's Mega Moon Rocket Passes Key Review for Artemis I Mission

NASA has completed the design certification review (DCR) for the Space Launch System Program (SLS) rocket ahead of the Artemis I mission to send the Orion spacecraft to the Moon. The review examined all the SLS systems, all test data, inspection reports, and analyses that support verification, to ensure every aspect of the rocket is technically mature and meets the requirements for SLS's first flight on Artemis I.

"With this review, the NASA has given its final stamp of approval to the entire, integrated rocket design and completed the final formal milestone to pass before we move forward to the SLS and Artemis I flight readiness reviews," said John Honeycutt, the SLS Program Manager who chaired the DCR board held at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

In addition to the rocket's design, the review certified all reliability and safety analyses, production quality and configuration management systems, and operations manuals across all parts of the rocket including, interfaces with the Orion spacecraft and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) hardware. With the completion of the SLS DCR, NASA has now certified the SLS and Orion spacecraft designs, as well as the new Launch Control Center at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for the mission.

The DCR is part of the formal review system NASA employs as a systematic method for manufacturing, testing, and certifying space hardware for flight. The process starts with defining what the rocket needs to do to achieve missions, such as its performance; these are called systems requirements. Throughout this process the design of the hardware is refined and validated by many processes: inspection, analysis, modeling, and testing that ranges from single components to major integrated systems. As the design matures, the team evaluates it during a preliminary design review, then a critical design review, and finally after the hardware is built and tested, the design certification review. The review process culminates with the Artemis I Flight Readiness Review when NASA gives a "go" to proceed with launch.

"We have certified the first NASA super heavy-lift rocket built for human spaceflight in 50 years for missions to the Moon and beyond," said David Beaman, the manager for SLS Systems Engineering and Integration who led the review team. "NASA's mature processes and testing philosophy help us ask the right questions, so we can design and build a rocket that is powerful, safe, and makes the boldest missions possible."

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NASA release
Stacking Operations for Artemis I Mission Nearing Completion

Teams with Exploration Ground Systems successfully lifted the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission inside the Vehicle Assembly Building on Oct. 20, 2021.

Teams attached the spacecraft to one of the five overhead cranes inside the building and began lifting it a little after midnight EDT. Work to fully secure Orion to the Space Launch System then followed after teams initially placed the spacecraft on top of the rocket.

Robert Pearlman
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collectSPACE
NASA completes stacking SLS rocket for first Artemis moon mission

A massive rocket topped with a spacecraft bound for the moon is now standing in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the first time in 49 years.

The space agency completed stacking the components of its first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket just after midnight (EDT) on Thursday (Oct. 21). The integration of the core stage, twin solid rocket boosters, a propulsion stage and the Orion spacecraft marked a major milestone towards the launch of the uncrewed Artemis I mission to loop around moon as soon as February 2022.

Robert Pearlman
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NASA release
Artemis I Integrated Testing Update

NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft are undergoing integrated testing inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to ensure they are "go" for launch of the Artemis I mission early next year.

After stacking the Orion atop the SLS rocket, the engineers completed several tests to ensure the rocket and spacecraft are ready to roll to the launch pad ahead of the Artemis I wet dress rehearsal. These tests included ensuring Orion, the core stage, and boosters can communicate with the ground systems and verification testing to make sure all the pieces of the rocket and spacecraft can power up and connect to the consoles in the Launch control Center.

During a recent core stage power test, engineers identified an issue with one of the RS-25 engine flight controllers. The flight controller works as the "brain" for each RS-25 engine, communicating with the SLS rocket to provide precision control of the engine as well as internal health diagnostics. Each controller is equipped with two channels so that there is a back-up, should an issue arise with one of the channels during launch or ascent. In the recent testing, channel B of the controller on engine four failed to power up consistently.

The controller had powered up and communicated successfully with the rocket's computers during preliminary integrated testing, in addition to performing a full duration hot fire during Green Run testing with all four RS-25 engines earlier this year at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. NASA and lead contractor for the RS-25 engines, Aerojet Rocketdyne, also test all RS-25 engines and flight controllers for Artemis missions at Stennis prior to integration with the rocket.

After performing a series of inspections and troubleshooting, engineers determined the best course of action is to replace the engine controller, returning the rocket to full functionality and redundancy while continuing to investigate and identify a root cause. NASA is developing a plan and updated schedule to replace the engine controller while continuing integrated testing and reviewing launch opportunities in March and April.

Verification testing of the Interim Cryogenic Propulsions Stage is ongoing along with closeouts of the boosters, and parallel work continues with core stage engineering testing. Communication end-to-end testing is underway, and countdown sequence testing will begin as early as next week to demonstrate all SLS and Orion communication systems with the ground infrastructure and launch control center. Integrated testing will culminate with the wet dress rehearsal at historic Launch Complex 39B. NASA will set a target launch date after a successful wet dress rehearsal test.

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NASA release
Artemis I Integrated Testing Continues Inside Vehicle Assembly Building

Engineers and technicians continue to complete integrated tests inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as part of the lead up to launch of the Artemis I mission.

On Dec. 17, the team completed a communications end-to-end test to ensure the rocket, spacecraft and ground equipment can communicate with the consoles in the launch and mission control centers. This verification of communication systems via radio frequency ensures the launch team will be able to monitor the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft on the ground as well as during flight. The test used an antenna in the VAB, another near the pad that will cover the first few seconds of launch, as well as a more powerful antenna that uses the Tracking Data Relay Satellite and the Deep Space Network.

On Dec. 20, the Exploration Ground Systems team conducted a countdown sequencing test to demonstrate the ground launch software and ground launch sequencer, which checks for health and status of the vehicle sitting on the pad. The simulated launch countdown tested the responses from SLS and Orion, ensuring the sequencer can run without any issues. On launch day, the ground launch sequencer hands off to the rocket and spacecraft and an automated launch sequencer takes over around 30 seconds before launch. Engineers have added a second sequencing test before rollout to account for differences between the emulator and flight hardware identified during the initial test.

Last week engineers and technicians successfully removed and replaced an engine controller from one of four RS-25 engines after the team identified an issue during a power-up test of the rocket’s core stage. Engineers are now performing standard engine controller diagnostic tests and check-outs, including controller power-up and flight software load. Subsequently, the team will work to complete all remaining SLS pre-flight diagnostic tests and hardware closeouts in advance of a mid-February rollout for a wet dress rehearsal in late February. NASA will set a target launch date after a successful wet dress rehearsal test.

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NASA release
Artemis I Countdown Test Complete

Engineers and technicians successfully completed a second countdown sequencing test on Jan. 24 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is one of the final tests for the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft ahead the Artemis I mission, and brings the team one step closer to rolling to the launch pad in mid-February for the wet dress rehearsal test.

The test demonstrated the ground launch software and ground launch sequencer, which checks the health and status of the rocket sitting on the pad. The simulated launch countdown tested the responses from the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, ensuring the sequencer operates correctly. On launch day, the ground launch sequencer hands off to the rocket and spacecraft, and an automated launch sequencer takes over control of the rocket from ground controllers around 30 seconds before launch.

Up next the team will work to complete the final program specific engineering tests for the Artemis I mission. With the countdown sequencing test complete, Exploration Ground Systems teams will continue doing final checks and closeouts of the Moon rocket in preparation for the wet dress rehearsal test next month. For wet dress rehearsal, engineers will fully load SLS with propellant, and the team on the ground will run through all the pre-launch operations to prepare for the Artemis I launch.

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NASA release
Artemis I rollout for testing in March

NASA has updated the schedule to move the combined Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft out of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39B at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for testing to no earlier than March 2022.

NASA has added additional time to complete closeout activities inside the VAB prior to rolling the integrated rocket and spacecraft out for the first time. While the teams are not working any major issues, engineers continue work associated with final closeout tasks and flight termination system testing ahead of the wet dress rehearsal.

Teams are taking operations a step at a time to ensure the integrated system is ready to safely launch the Artemis I mission. NASA is reviewing launch opportunities in April and May.

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collectSPACE
Rocket rollout: How NASA's first Artemis Space Launch System move stacks up against Saturn V

"It was a sight unseen before by mankind."

That was how NASA described the first rollout of a Saturn V rocket 56 years ago. Were it still in print today, the space agency's "Spaceport News" might use that lede again — this time for the first Space Launch System (SLS) booster following in the tracks of its Apollo predecessor.

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NASA release
NASA Continues Artemis I Preparations at Pad Wet Dress Rehearsal Test

Following arrival of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Artemis I at Launch Pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 18, teams have connected numerous ground support equipment elements to the rocket and spacecraft, including electrical, fuel environmental control system ducts, and cryogenic propellant lines. Teams successfully powered up all elements of the integrated system at the pad for the first time on March 21 in preparation for the wet dress rehearsal test planned for April 1-3.

Engineering testing is underway to ensure systems continue to operate as planned with the rocket and spacecraft now configured at the pad. Additionally, technicians will don self-contained atmospheric protective ensemble suits, or SCAPE suits, to practice operations in the event of an emergency at the pad during fueling and launch. After checkouts at the pad are complete next week, the team will start system walkdowns ahead of the test.

The approximately two-day wet dress rehearsal test will demonstrate the team's ability to load cryogenic, or super-cold, propellants into the rocket, conduct a launch countdown, and practice safely removing propellants at the launch pad. After wet dress rehearsal, engineers will roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for final checkouts before launch.

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NASA release
Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Test on Track

The launch team is on track to begin the countdown for the Artemis I wet dress rehearsal test.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 currently predict favorable weather conditions for tanking on April 3. The primary weather concern is lightning. There is currently less than a 10% chance of lightning within five nautical miles of the launch pad. Weather constraints stipulate there must be less than a 20% chance lightning within 5 nautical miles of pad during the first hour of tanking. Meteorologists are also predicting a 10% chance of winds greater than 23 knots on April 3, when tanking begins. Winds must not be above 37.5 knots and the temperature cannot be below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

The countdown is set to begin at 5 p.m. EDT April 1 with "call to stations" at L-45 hours, 40 minutes, when teams begin arriving to Kennedy Space Center's Launch Control Center.

The approximately two-day wet dress rehearsal test for the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft will run the Artemis I launch team through operations to load propellant into the rocket's tanks, conduct a full launch countdown, demonstrate the ability to recycle the countdown clock, and also drain propellants to give them an opportunity to practice the timelines and procedures they will use for launch.

The countdown for the wet dress rehearsal will follow a similar timeline as the team will use on the day of launch. Below are the approximate times for countdown milestones during the wet dress rehearsal test. All times below are Eastern.

During the test, the timing for some events on account of several planned operational demonstrations tied to specific capabilities and test objectives may differ from the day of launch countdown. These demonstrations include tests on the cryogenic systems and an approximately three-minute hold inside the terminal count, which would not normally occur on launch day. If needed, the test team also may hold as necessary to verify conditions before resuming the countdown, or use the test window or extend beyond it, if consumables and resources allow them to complete test objectives.

The following activities will occur for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the Orion spacecraft, and supporting ground systems:

Prior to Call to Stations

  • The Orion crew module hatch is closed (will occur at ~L-37.5 hours for launch)

  • The crew access arm is retracted (will occur at ~L-30 hours for launch)

  • Leak checks are completed on the Orion spacecraft and the launch abort system is closed (will occur at ~L-29 hours, 30 minutes for launch)
5 p.m., April 1 – L-45 hours and counting
  • The launch team arrives on their stations and the countdown begins (L-45, 40 minutes hours) 

  • Fill the water tank for the sound suppression system (L-45 hours) 

  • The Orion spacecraft powered up start (L-41 hours) 
    May be powered earlier during the test

  • The SLS core stage is powered up (L-35 hours, 20 minutes) 

  • Final preparations of the four RS-25 engines complete (L-30 hours, 30 minutes) 
    Engines will not fire during this test

  • Side flame deflectors are moved into place (L-21 hours)
1:40 a.m., April 3 – L-13 hours and counting
  • The SLS interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) is powered up (L-12 hours, 50 minutes) 

  • All non-essential personnel leave Launch Complex 39B (L-12 hours)
6 a.m. – L-8 hours, 40 minutes and counting
  • Built in countdown hold begins and lasts approximately 1.5 hours (L-8 hours, 40 minutes) 

  • The launch director and mission management team chair conduct a weather and tanking briefing (L-8 hours, 20 minutes)  

  • The launch director and mission management team chair decide if they are "go" or "no-go" to begin tanking the rocket (L-7 hours, 50 minutes)
6:40 a.m. – L-8 hours and counting
  • 7:20 a.m.: Core stage LOX chilldown start (L-7 hours, 20 minutes) 

  • 8:15 a.m.: Core stage LOX slow fill start (L-6 hours, 25 minutes) 

  • 8:30 a.m.: Core stage LOX fast fill start (L-6 hours, 10 minutes)

  • 8:35 a.m.: Core stage LH2 chilldown start (L-6 hours, 5 minutes) 

  • 8:40 a.m.: Core stage LH2 slow fill start (L-6 hours) 

  • 9:00 a.m.: Core stage LH2 fast fill start (L-5 hours, 40 minutes)
10:10 a.m. – L-4 hours, 30 minutes and counting
  • 10:10 a.m.: Core stage LH2 topping start (L-4 hours, 30 minutes) 

  • 10:15 a.m.: ICPS LH2 chilldown (L-4 hours, 25 minutes) 

  • 10:15 a.m.: Core stage LH2 replenish start (L-4 hours 25 minutes) 

  • 10:20 a.m.: Orion communications system activation start (RF to Mission control) (L-4 hours, 20 minutes) 

  • 10:40 a.m.: ICPS LH2 fast fill (L-4 hours)
11:10 a.m. – L-3 hours, 30 minutes and counting
  • 11:15 a.m.: Core stage LOX topping start (L-3 hours, 25 minutes) 

  • 11:20 a.m.: Core stage LOX replenish start (L-3 hours, 20 minutes) 
  • 11:20 a.m.: ICPS LOX chilldown start (L-3 hours, 20 minutes) 

  • 11:25 a.m.: ICPS LH2 validation and leak test start (L-3 hours, 15 minutes) 

  • 11:40 a.m.: ICPS LH2 tanks load topping start (L-3 hours) 

  • 11:40 a.m.: ICPS/SLS telemetry data verified with mission control and SLS Engineering Support Center (L-3 hours) 

  • 12 p.m.: ICPS LH2 replenish start (L-2 hours, 40 minutes) 

  • 12 p.m.: ICPS LOX validation and leak test (L-2 hours, 40 minutes) 

  • 12:20 p.m.: ICPS LOX topping start (L-2 hours, 20 minutes) 

  • 12:30 p.m.: ICPS LOX replenish start (L-2 hours, 10 minutes) 

  • 12:40 p.m.: WDR-specific core stage LOX/LH2 stop flow and recover test (L-2 hours through L-55 minutes)
2 p.m. – L-40 minutes and holding
  • 2 p.m.: Final NASA Test Director briefing is held 

  • 2 p.m.: Built in 30-minute countdown hold begins 

  • 2:25 p.m.: The launch director polls the team to ensure they are "go" for terminal count for test purposes
2:30 p.m. – T-10 minutes and counting (WDR Run 1)
    2:34 p.m.

  • Orion ascent pyros are armed (T-6 minutes) 
  • Orion set to internal power (T-6 minutes) 
  • Core Stage LH2 terminate replenish (T-5 minutes, 57 seconds) 

    2:36 p.m.

  • Core Stage auxiliary power unit starts (T-4 minutes)
  • Core stage LOX terminate replenish (T-4 minutes)  
  • ICPS LOX terminate replenish (T-3 minutes, 30 seconds) 

    2:38 p.m.

  • ICPS switches to internal battery power (T-1 minute, 56 seconds) 
  • Core stage switches to internal power (T-1 minute, 30 seconds) 
  • ICPS enters terminal countdown mode (T-1 minute, 20 seconds) 

    2:39 p.m.

  • ICPS LH2 terminate replenish (T-50 seconds) 
  • Ground launch sequencer sends "cut-off" command (T-33 seconds)
Perform Critical Safing and Planned Recycle back to T-10 minutes and holding (takes approximately one hour)

T-10 minutes and counting  (WDR Run 2)

  • Orion ascent pyrotechnics are armed (T-6 minutes) 

  • Orion set to internal power (T-6 minutes) 

  • Core Stage LH2 terminate replenish (T-5 minutes, 57 seconds) 

  • Core Stage auxiliary power unit starts (T-4 minutes)

  • Core stage LOX terminate replenish (T-4 minutes)  

  • ICPS LOX terminate replenish (T-3 minutes, 30 seconds) 

  • ICPS switches to internal battery power (T-1 minute, 56 seconds) 

  • Core stage switches to internal power (T-1 minute, 30 seconds) 

  • ICPS enters terminal countdown mode (T-1 minute, 20 seconds) 

  • ICPS LH2 terminate replenish (T-50 seconds) 

  • Ground launch sequencer sends "Go for automated launch sequencer" command (T-33 seconds) 

  • Core stage flight computer to automated launching sequencer (T-30 seconds) 

  • Ground launch sequencer manual cut-off at T-9.34 seconds
Proceed with Critical Safing Operations

Proceed with Core Stage and ICPS Cryogenic Fuel Drain Operations

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48400
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-03-2022 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Scrub

Teams have decided to scrub tanking operations for the wet dress rehearsal due to loss of ability to pressurize the mobile launcher. The fans are needed to provide positive pressure to the enclosed areas within the mobile launcher and keep out hazardous gases. Technicians are unable to safely proceed with loading the propellants into the rocket's core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage without this capability.

Teams will now meet to determine next steps and establish a go forward plan. The next opportunity to proceed into tanking is Monday, April 4. Teams will discuss range and commodity availability as part of the forward plan.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48400
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-12-2022 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
Countdown is underway for modified wet dress rehearsal

At approximately 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday (April 12), the launch team arrived at their stations inside the Launch Control Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The countdown will begin 30 minutes later at 5:30 p.m. or L-45 hours, 10 minutes before the initial target T-0 for the wet dress rehearsal test for NASA's Artemis I mission.

Teams are proceeding with a modified test, primarily focused on tanking the core stage and minimal propellant operations on the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) with the ground systems at Kennedy. Tanking operations are scheduled to occur on Thursday, April 14.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force 45th Space Wing predict favorable weather for propellant loading operations. Weather constraints stipulate there must be less than a 20% chance lightning within 5 nautical miles of pad during the first hour of tanking. Winds also must not be above 37.5 knots and the temperature cannot be below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Overnight, teams will power up Orion and the Space Launch System core stage, charge core stage battery, and prepare the four RS-25 engines, which will not be lit during the test.

During the test, the timing for some events on account of several planned operational demonstrations tied to specific capabilities and test objectives may differ from the day of launch countdown. These demonstrations include tests on the cryogenic systems and an approximately three-minute hold inside the terminal count, which would not normally occur on launch day. If needed, the test team may also hold as necessary to verify conditions before resuming the countdown, or use the test window or extend beyond it, if consumables and resources allow them to complete test objectives.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48400
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-14-2022 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
Third attempt at wet dress rehearsal halted due to liquid hydrogen leak

While loading liquid hydrogen (LH2) on the Space Launch System's core stage on Thursday afternoon (April 14), engineers detected a leak on the tail service mast, which is located at the base of the mobile launcher and connects to the core stage.

Though engineers stopped loading LH2 and liquid oxygen (LOX) on the core stage, the launch director gave approval for teams to chill down the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) LH2 lines to collect additional data and have completed that activity. Engineers will not load LH2 or LOX into the ICPS tanks, due to an issue with a helium check valve experienced several days ago.

When teams paused propellant loading earlier today, there was about 49% of LOX on the core stage and about 5% of LH2 was loaded into the core stage tank prior to the hydrogen leak.

The terminal countdown will not occur today due to the modified configurations and delays with propellant loading. Teams are reassessing the next steps and will determine a go-forward plan following today's test.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48400
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-16-2022 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
SLS to be rolled back to VAB for repairs

Due to upgrades required at an off-site supplier of gaseous nitrogen used for the wet dress rehearsal, NASA will take advantage of the opportunity to roll the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to replace a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak on the tail service mast umbilical.

During that time, the agency also will review schedules and options to demonstrate propellant loading operations ahead of launch.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48400
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-25-2022 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Artemis I Moon Rocket to Depart Launch Pad 39B

At approximately 7:00 p.m. ET today (April 25), NASA's Artemis I moon rocket atop the crawler-transporter is scheduled to leave launchpad 39B and begin its 4-mile trek to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Once inside the VAB, teams will work on replacing a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak within the tail service mast umbilical ground plate housing on the mobile launcher while the supplier for the gaseous nitrogen makes upgrades to their pipeline configuration to support Artemis I testing and launch. Following completion, teams will return to the launch pad to complete the next wet dress rehearsal attempt.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48400
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-26-2022 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Artemis I SLS arrives back at assembly building

At approximately 6 a.m. ET Tuesday (April 26), NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center after a 10-hour journey from launchpad 39B that began at 7:54 p.m. ET Monday, April 25.

Over the next several days, the team will extend the work platforms to allow access to SLS and Orion. In the coming weeks, teams will work on replacing a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak within the tail service mast umbilical ground plate housing, and perform additional checkouts before returning to the launch pad for the next wet dress rehearsal attempt.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 48400
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-23-2022 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
SLS to Return to Launchpad in Early June

The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft are slated to return to launch pad 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in early June for the next wet dress rehearsal attempt.

Engineers successfully completed work on a number of items observed during the previous wet dress rehearsal test. This includes addressing the liquid hydrogen system leak at the tail service mast umbilical, replacing the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) gaseous helium system check valve and support hardware, modifying the ICPS umbilical purge boots, and confirming there are no impacts to Orion as a result of storms and subsequent water intrusion at the launch pad. The team also updated software to address issues encountered during core stage tanking of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen during previous rehearsal attempts.

The purge boots are not flight hardware, but enclose an area around the ICPS umbilical – the connection between the mobile launcher and the upper stage – to protect it from the natural environment during propellant loading.

Meanwhile the contractor for gaseous nitrogen has completed their repairs to the distribution system that will be used to support the Artemis testing and launch campaign. The repairs and tests ensured the system is ready to support tanking operations. During wet dress rehearsal and launch, teams use gaseous nitrogen to purge the rocket including its umbilical plates and to support other operations.

Engineers also are completing some of the forward work originally scheduled to take place in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) after wet dress rehearsal. This includes opening the Orion crew module hatch and installing some payloads, such as hardware elements for the Callisto technology demonstration, a flight kit locker, and container assemblies for a space biology experiment.

Following completion of a few remaining verifications, teams will retract platforms inside the VAB to prepare SLS and Orion to roll out to pad 39B. Plans call for the next wet dress rehearsal to take place about 14 days after the rocket arrives at the pad.


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