NASA’s Massive Artemis I Moon Rocket Arrives at Launch Pad Ahead of Historic Mission

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NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher as it arrives at Launch Pad 39B on Friday, November 4, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Launch of the uncrewed flight test is targeted for November 14 at 12:07 a.m. EST. Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Around 8:30 a.m. EDT (5:30 a.m. PDT) on November 4, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived at launch pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a nearly nine-hour journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Teams will continue working to configure SLS and Orion for the upcoming November 14 launch attempt.


The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I flight test are rolling to launch pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of launch. Credit: NASA

The journey began at around 11:17 p.m. EDT on November 3 as the crawler-transporter began the approximately 4-mile journey from the VAB to the launch pad. Once outside the VAB high-bay doors, the Moon rocket made a planned pause allowing the team to reposition the crew access arm on the mobile launcher before continuing to the launch pad.

Artemis I Rollout for Launch

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, standing atop the mobile launcher, arrive at Launch Pad 39B at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 4, 2022, ahead of the uncrewed Artemis I launch. Credit: NASA/Isaac Watson

Artemis I launch is currently targeted for November 14 at the opening of a 69-minute launch window starting at 12:07 a.m. EST. Artemis I will be the first integrated test of NASA’s SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. The primary goal of Artemis I is to thoroughly test the integrated systems before crewed missions by launching Orion atop the SLS rocket, operating the spacecraft in a deep space environment, testing Orion’s heat shield, and recovering the crew module after reentry, descent, and splashdown.

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