NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, with the Orion capsule atop, slowly rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 17, 2022, on its journey to Launch Complex 39B. Carried atop the crawler-transporter 2, NASA’s Moon rocket is venturing out to the launch pad for a wet dress rehearsal ahead of the uncrewed Artemis I launch. The first in an increasingly complex set of missions, Artemis I will test SLS and Orion as an integrated system prior to crewed flights to the Moon. Through Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a stepping stone on the way to Mars.
On March 17, 2022, the Artemis I Moon rocket rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and made its way to launch pad 39B in preparation for the wet dress rehearsal – one of the final tests needed before the Artemis I launch. Credit: NASA/Chris Chamberland
NASA’s Mega Moon Rocket Begins Rolling to Launch Pad
The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission are rolling to Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the very first time. At about 5:45 p.m. ET, with the integrated SLS and Orion system atop it, the crawler-transporter began the approximately 4-mile, journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the launch pad. Once outside the VAB high-bay doors, the Moon rocket will make a planned pause allowing the team to reposition the Crew Access Arm before continuing to the launch pad. The crawler-transporter will move slowly during the trek to the pad with a top cruising speed of .82 mph. The journey is expected to take between six and 12 hours.
After they arrive at the pad, engineers will prepare the integrated rocket and Orion spacecraft for a critical wet dress rehearsal test that includes loading all the propellants.
NASA’s Moon Rocket Revealed Outside Vehicle Assembly Building
The rocket and spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis I mission has fully left Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for the first time on the way to Launch Complex 39B for a wet dress rehearsal test.
The team is in a planned pause outside the building to retract the Crew Access Arm (CAA). The arm interfaces with the Orion spacecraft stacked atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to provide access to the Orion crew module during operations in the VAB and at the launch pad. On crewed Artemis missions beginning with Artemis II, the access arm also will provide entry and exit for astronauts and payloads that will fly aboard. Several days before the rollout began, the arm was moved closer to the rocket to fit through the VAB door. Engineers are extending it to lock it in its travel position.
Once the CAA retraction is complete, the team will continue the four-mile trek to Launch Complex 39B.
NASA’s Moon Rocket Keeps on Rolling to Launch Complex 39B
NASA’s mega-Moon rocket continues its four-mile journey to the launch pad after leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building after a planned stop to adjust the Crew Access Arm. Traveling at a top speed of .82 mph, the crawler-transporter with the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft atop the mobile launcher is on its way to Launch Complex 39B.
Once at the launch pad, the team will begin final preparations ahead of the wet dress rehearsal test.
Grammy-award winning artist Eddie Vedder’s “Invincible” video collaboration with NASA is inspired by our Artemis I Moon mission.