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

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Author Topic:   NASA's Artemis I 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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SLS returns to launchpad for next tanking test

At about 12:10 a.m. EDT on June 6, NASA's Artemis I Space Launch System (SLS) rocket began its journey from Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) back out to launchpad 39B. Poised atop a crawler transporter, the rocket made the 4-mile trio to undergo the next wet dress rehearsal test attempt.

At approximately 8:20 a.m. EDT, the SLS arrived at Pad 39B after an eight-hour rollout. Teams are now working to secure the vehicle and its mobile launcher to ground support equipment to ensure they are in a safe configuration.

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NASA release
Countdown is Underway for Wet Dress Rehearsal

At approximately 5 p.m. EDT today (June 18), the launch team arrived at their stations inside the Launch Control Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin the wet dress rehearsal test for NASA's Artemis I mission. The countdown began 30 minutes later at 5:30 p.m. or L-45 hours, 10 minutes before the initial target T-0 of 2:40 p.m. on Monday, June 20.

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

Weather constraints for propellant loading operations planned for Monday 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.

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Tanking underway for Wet Dress Rehearsal

Tanking has begun for the Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal with chilling down the liquid oxygen propellant lines for core stage. In sequential fashion, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen will flow into the Space Launch System's (SLS) core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage tanks and be topped off as some propellant boils off.

Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson gave the "go" to start propellant loading, which began at 9:28 a.m. EDT on Monday (June 20) at T-6 hours, 40 minutes.

The core stage's liquid oxygen tank holds 196,000 gallons of the propellant, cooled to minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit. Teams will fill the tank slowly at first and then will begin filling it more quickly. The liquid hydrogen tank holds 537,000 gallons.

Earlier this morning, the countdown entered an extended hold as an issue with a valve for the redundant gaseous nitrogen (GN2) line was repaired.

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NASA release
Test ends at T-29 seconds

The Artemis I wet dress rehearsal ended Monday (June 20) at 7:37 p.m. EDT (2337 GMT) at T-29 seconds in the countdown. The test marked the first time the team fully loaded all the Space Launch System rocket's propellant tanks and proceeded into the terminal launch countdown, when many critical activities occur in rapid succession.

During propellant loading operations earlier in the day, launch controllers encountered a hydrogen leak in the quick disconnect that attaches an umbilical from the tail service mast on the mobile launcher to the rocket's core stage. The team attempted to fix the leak by warming the quick disconnect and then chilling it back down to realign a seal, but their efforts did not fix the issue.

Launch controllers then developed a plan to mask data associated with the leak that would trigger a hold by the ground launch sequencer, or launch computer, in a real launch day scenario, to allow them to get as far into the countdown as possible. The time required to develop the plan required extended hold time during the countdown activities, but they were able to resume with the final 10 minutes of the countdown, called terminal count.

During the terminal count, the teams performed several critical operations that must be accomplished for launch including switching control from the ground launch sequencer to the automated launch sequencer controlled by the rocket's flight software, and important step that the team wanted to accomplish.

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NASA release
NASA Completes Wet Dress Rehearsal, Moves Forward Toward Launch

NASA has analyzed the data from the wet dress rehearsal conducted Monday, June 20, and determined the testing campaign is complete. The agency will roll Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy next week to prepare the rocket and spacecraft for launch.

"During the wet dress rehearsal activities, we have incrementally added to our knowledge about how the rocket and the ground systems work together, and our teams have become proficient in launch procedures across multiple sites. We have completed the rehearsal phase, and everything we've learned will help improve our ability to lift off during the target launch window,” said Tom Whitmeyer, deputy associate administrator for common exploration systems at NASA Headquarters. “The team is now ready to take the next step and prepare for launch.”

During Monday’s rehearsal, teams were able to validate the timelines and procedures for launch, including loading cryogenic – or supercold – propellant into the rocket’s tanks, performing the launch countdown through the handover to the automated launch sequencer, and draining the tanks. The rehearsal focused on two primary objectives and several secondary objectives to help ensure the team will be ready to launch on the Artemis I flight test.

The primary objectives were:

  • Demonstrate cryogenic loading operations through all phases of propellant loading and proceed into terminal countdown, perform a recycle to T-10 minutes, a second terminal countdown, scrub, and perform propellant drain operations and safing activities

  • Demonstrate Kennedy facilities Launch Complex-39 and Launch Control Center in launch countdown configuration and demonstrate operations and connectivity required on day of launch with launch control team, support launch team, 45th Delta Space Force Eastern range, network, and design center support
Secondary test objectives include:
  • Demonstrate successful Kennedy Launch Control Center interfaces with the Marshall SLS Engineering Support Center, Delta Operations Center of the 45th Space Force, and Johnson Flight Control and Mission Evaluation Room including communications, operational television for monitoring the rocket and spacecraft, and telemetry in launch day configuration

  • Collect data on Orion, SLS and mobile launcher launch configuration loads, cryogenic induced deflection and thermal data during cryogenic load and drain, as well as imagery of vehicle performance

  • Validate the timelines/procedures for roll-out and roll-back, launch countdown, launch window including time to complete a recycle and set-up for next T-0

  • Collect data on electromagnetic interference and compatibility with vehicle and 45th Delta Space Force Eastern range systems configured for launch day during planned flight termination system testing

  • Assemble and stage Red Crew, Fire Rescue Crews, Medical and other supporting launch teams
By reaching deep into the final phase of the countdown, known as the terminal count when many critical activities occur in rapid succession, teams exercised all the assets and capabilities of the entire system: the SLS rocket, the Orion spacecraft, and Exploration Ground Systems including at Launch Complex 39B and other supporting locations.

Despite a liquid hydrogen leak detected earlier in the day when increasing pressure to condition the engines, teams were able develop a plan to proceed into the terminal count with the expectation the countdown would stop after handover to the flight software for the automated launch sequencer. The software performs checks to confirm the engine temperatures are within acceptable range up to the point of the engine start sequence at T-9.34 seconds and operated correctly to halt the countdown at any point if temperatures fall outside that range, just as it would during an actual launch attempt.

"The team continues to impress me with their and creative thinking and resourcefulness,” said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch director at Kennedy. “Our Artemis launch team has worked quickly to adapt to the dynamics of propellant loading operations. With each milestone and each test, we are another step closer to launch."

The launch director elected to do a single run through the terminal count due to the length of the day for the launch teams. With experience from loading operations and simulations, it is not necessary to perform a retest to demonstrate the ability to recycle and reset for another run through the terminal count. Additionally, as part of the normal procedures after the cut-off of the countdown, teams successfully completed a set of steps to “safe,” or stabilize and reconfigure, the rocket.

Engineers reviewed the few commands that would have been included within the remaining seconds of the countdown before the engine start sequence and determined those activities had been previously validated in other recent tests. The remaining commands were not part of the objectives, but the team has decided to incorporate additional checks earlier in the countdown as they fine-tune procedures, such as for engine purge bleed parameters and propellant feedline heaters used for conditioning the engines to a specific temperature range for launch. Performing these checkouts earlier in the countdown will provide the team with the best position to make the target launch window.

Before returning to the VAB, engineers will also add a checkout of the booster hydraulic power unit to provide additional data for the countdown schedule. The units contain hydrazine powered turbines attached to pumps that provide pressure to pivot the booster nozzles used for steering the rocket during ascent. The automated launch sequencer sends the command to start the hydraulic power unit at T-28 seconds, which would have occurred just after the point the flight software cut off the countdown at T-29 seconds.

Once inside the VAB, teams will replace a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical to address a liquid hydrogen leak detected during the rehearsal. NASA plans to return SLS and Orion to the pad for launch in late August, and will set a specific target launch date after replacing hardware associated with the leak.

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NASA release
Rollback to Vehicle Assembly Building

NASA will roll the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission from launch pad 39B to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

First motion for the rocket and spacecraft atop the mobile launcher is expected to occur at 8 p.m. EDT today (June 30). The 4-mile trek atop the crawler transporter from the launch pad to the VAB will take approximately 8 to 12 hours.

The journey previously was expected to begin just after midnight on July 1 but was moved up by several hours due to forecasted weather in the area. Teams will continue monitoring weather in the area and the start of the roll is subject to change.

Update: Rollback is now planned for Friday (July 1) starting no earlier than 11 p.m. EDT, with the vehicle approaching the VAB at about 6 a.m. on Saturday.

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NASA release
Artemis I SLS arrives back at VAB

At approximately 2:30 p.m. EDT, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission were firmly secured inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a four-mile journey from launchpad 39B that began at 4:12 a.m. EDT Saturday, July 2.

Over the next several days, the team will extend work platforms to allow access to SLS and Orion. In the coming weeks, teams will replace a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical and perform additional checkouts and activities before returning to the pad for launch.

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NASA release
Work Continues to Prepare for Artemis I Launch

Since the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion arrived back at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 2, teams extended the access platforms surrounding the rocket and spacecraft to perform repairs and conduct final operations before returning to launch pad 39B for the Artemis I mission.

Technicians are working to inspect, fix, and check out equipment associated with a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical that was identified as the source of a hydrogen leak during the wet dress rehearsal test that ended June 20. Engineers have disconnected the umbilical and are in the process of examining the area where they will replace two seals on the quick disconnect hardware. Working in tandem with those repairs, engineers also completed the last remaining engineering test that is part of the integrated testing operations in the VAB.

Teams also performed additional planned work on aspects of the rocket and spacecraft. Engineers swapped out a computer on the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage called the Inertial Navigation and Control Assembly unit that was used during wet dress rehearsal activities with the one that will be used for flight and will test the unit next week. The newly installed flight unit includes freshly calibrated inertial navigation sensors and updated software to guide and navigate the upper stage during flight.

Technicians also activated several batteries for the rocket elements, including for the solid rocket boosters and the ICPS. The batteries on the core stage will be activated in the coming weeks, and all the batteries will then be installed. The batteries provide power for the rocket elements during the final portion of the countdown on launch day and through ascent.

Engineers also charged the batteries for the secondary payloads located on the Orion stage adapter and will work to install payloads inside the Orion spacecraft in the coming weeks.

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NASA release
Progress Continues Toward Artemis I Launch

Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians continue to prepare the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Artemis I.

During work to repair the source of a hydrogen leak, engineers identified a loose fitting on the inside wall of the rocket's engine section, where the quick disconnect for the liquid hydrogen umbilical attaches. The component, called a "collet," is a fist-sized ring that guides the quick disconnect during assembly operations. Teams will repair the collet by entering the engine section in parallel with other planned work for launch preparations. Technicians have replaced the seals on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical and will reattach the umbilical plate once the loose collet is addressed.

NASA continues to target the late August launch period and will identify a specific target launch date after engineers have examined the collet.

Technicians continue work associated with battery activations, and plan to turn on the core stage batteries this weekend, before they are installed on the rocket. Next up, teams will start the flight termination systems operations, which include removing the core stage and booster safe and arm devices for calibration and removing and replacing the command receiver decoders with the flight units. The safe and arm devices are a manual mechanism that put the flight termination system in either a "safe" or "arm" configuration while the command receiver decoders receive and decode the command on the rocket if the system is activated.

Meanwhile on the Orion spacecraft, teams installed a technology demonstration that will test digital assistance and video collaboration in deep space. Engineers are also conducting powered testing on the crew module and European service module heaters and sensors.

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NASA photo release (NASA/Frank Michaux)
A view of Moonikin "Campos" secured in a seat inside the Artemis I Orion crew module atop the Space Launch System rocket in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 3, 2022.

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NASA release
Artemis I Moon Rocket Ready to Roll to the Launch Pad

Engineers and technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida have completed the final testing and checkouts of the Artemis I Moon rocket ahead of rolling to Launch Pad 39B. NASA is targeting as soon as 9 p.m. EDT of Tuesday, Aug. 16 for rollout ahead of a targeted Aug. 29 launch.

The crawler-transporter will roll inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and under the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft later today. Teams are currently working to prepare the integrated stack for rollout.

Over the weekend the team completed testing of the flight termination system, which marked the final major activity prior to closing out the rocket and retracting the final access platforms in the VAB.

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NASA release
Artemis I rocket begins rollout to launchpad

The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission are rolling to Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of launch, currently targeted for Aug. 29. At 9:55 p.m. EDT (0155 GMT) the crawler-transporter began the 4.2-mile (6.8-km), journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).

Once outside the VAB high-bay doors, the crawler transporter will make a planned pause allowing the team to reposition the crew access arm before continuing to the pad. The journey is expected to take between 8 and 12 hours.

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Artemis I rocket arrives at pad ahead of launch

Around 7:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday (Aug. 17), the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived atop Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The vehicle was hard down on the pad at 8:03 a.m. EDT (1203 GMT), completing the 10 hour, 8 minute rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).

In the coming days, engineers and technicians will configure systems at the pad for launch, which is currently targeted for no earlier than Aug. 29 at 8:33 a.m. (two hour launch window).

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NASA release
Artemis I flight readiness review concludes

The Flight Readiness Review for NASA’s Artemis I mission has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a two-hour launch window that opens at 8:33 a.m. EDT Monday, August 29, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B in Florida.

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collectSPACE
Return to flight: NASA's Artemis I mission to launch using space shuttle-used parts

More than a decade after NASA landed its last space shuttle, major parts from all five of the retired winged orbiters are ready to launch again — this time on a mission to the moon.

Components that previously flew on 83 out of the 135 space shuttle missions have been assembled into new vehicles: the Space Launch System (SLS) and its Orion spacecraft.

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NASA release
Artemis I Launch Countdown Commences

The mission management team for Artemis I met this morning (Aug. 27) to review the status of operations and have polled "go" to proceed with the launch countdown.

The countdown commenced at 10:23 a.m. EDT (1423 GMT), after the launch team arrived at their stations in the Rocco A. Petrone Launch Control Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Throughout the day, teams will power up the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket's core stage and prepare the four RS-25 engines.

Meteorologists with Space Launch Delta 45 predict a 70% chance of favorable weather for launch on Monday, Aug. 29. The weather guidelines for NASA's Artemis I flight test identify conditions to launch the agency's Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft.

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posted 08-27-2022 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Team Assessing Lightning Strikes to Towers at Launch Pad

As the Artemis I countdown progresses, rain and thunderstorms have continued throughout the afternoon at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Earlier this afternoon, there were three lightning strikes to the lightning protection system towers at Launch Pad 39B – a strike to Tower 1, and two strikes to Tower 2. Initial indications are that the strikes were of low magnitude. A weather team has begun an assessment that includes collecting voltage and current data, as well as imagery. The data will be shared with a team of experts on electromagnetic environment efforts who will determine if any constraints on vehicle or ground systems were violated. Engineers will conduct a walkdown at the pad tonight, and if needed, conduct additional assessments with subsystems experts.

Overnight, engineers also will conduct preparations on the umbilicals, power up the core stage, and begin charging the Orion and Space Launch System core stage batteries.

The lightning protection system at the launch pad includes three 600-foot-tall towers and catenary wires positioned to protect the rocket, spacecraft, and mobile launcher. The wires run to the ground almost diagonally, steering the lightning current away from the rocket.


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