Countdown Progressing for NASA’s Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal

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NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Saturday, April 2, 2022, as the Artemis I launch team conducts the wet dress rehearsal test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Ahead of NASA’s Artemis I flight test, the wet dress rehearsal will run the Artemis I launch team through operations to load propellant, conduct a full launch countdown, demonstrate the ability to recycle the countdown clock, and drain the tanks to practice timelines and procedures for launch. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

At approximately 5 p.m. EDT yesterday (April 1), or L-45 hours, 40 minutes before the initial targeted test T-0, the launch team arrived at their stations inside the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The countdown began for the wet dress rehearsal test for NASA’s Artemis I mission.

Artemis I Moon Rocket Rollout

The rocket that will launch NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the Moon with the European Service Module on its way to the launchpad in Florida, USA, for its first full test before the Artemis I launch later this year. Credit: ESA–A. Conigli

Prior to “call to stations” the team completed several activities including closing the Orion crew module hatch and conducting leak checks. Technicians then closed the hatch on the launch abort system and conducted final activities in the White Room, the access point between Orion and the Mobile Launcher. The crew access arm, where the White Room is located, was retracted away from the spacecraft and rocket. On March 31, Orion was powered-up and will remain on throughout the duration of the test.

Teams filled sound suppression system with water at the launch pad, which is used to dampen and absorb acoustic energy during liftoff. Even though the Space Launch System engines will not fire during this test, teams are practicing carrying out operations as they would on launch day.

Overnight, teams charged the SLS core stage batteries and configuref ground systems to power up the stage, and purge and remove ducts for the RS-25 engines.

Around 3 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, at approximately L-35 hours and 20 minutes, the Artemis I launch control team powered up the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage, which will be loaded with more than 700,000 gallons of propellants during the tanking phase of the countdown. During the day, teams will charge Orion flight batteries, conduct final preparations on umbilical arms, and conduct a final pre-launch walkdown.

While operations at the pad may not be visible during today’s activities at the launch pad, NASA is streaming live video of the rocket and spacecraft on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel.

NASA is also sharing updates on the Exploration Ground Systems Twitter account. Real-time updates from Jeremy Parsons, deputy manager of the Exploration Ground Systems Program, will begin on the account when the launch director and mission management team chair give a “go” for tanking operations, expected to occur around 7 a.m. EDT on Sunday, April 3.

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