NASA Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Update: Final Umbilical Preparations Complete

Artemis I at Launch Pad 39B Sunrise 2

A view of the Artemis I Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft just before sunrise at Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 23, 2022. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

The mission management team for Artemis I met this morning to review the status of operations and continues to press ahead toward terminal countdown for the wet dress rehearsal test. Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 currently predict favorable weather conditions for tanking on April 14. There is currently a 5% chance of lightning within five nautical miles of the launch pad when tanking begins. Weather constraints stipulate there must be less than a 20% chance of lightning within 5 nautical miles of the pad during the first hour of tanking. Winds must not be above 37.5 knots and the temperature cannot be below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA Space Launch System Rocket and Orion Spacecraft Mobile Launcher With Umbilical Lines

An artist illustration of the mobile launcher with umbilical lines installed on the tower and attached to NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. Credit: NASA

Final preparations on the umbilicals to ensure connectivity between the mobile launcher, the Space Launch System rocket, and Orion spacecraft were completed this evening.

The umbilicals provide power, communications, coolant, and fuel to different parts of the rocket. Additional accessories provide access and stabilize the rocket and spacecraft. During launch, each umbilical releases from its connection point, allowing the rocket and spacecraft to lift off safely from the launch pad.

Teams have also completed a final walkdown at the pad to verify the rocket and ground equipment are in the correct configuration for tanking operations checking to ensure no foreign object debris is present near the rocket that could present a hazard during the test.

The next update will be provided in the morning of April 14, prior to the mission management team’s pre-tanking briefing where they will review the status of operations and determine if they are “go” to proceed toward tanking operations.

Real-time updates will be provided on the Exploration Ground Systems Twitter account with “go” for tanking targeted on April 14. NASA is also streaming live video of the rocket and spacecraft on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel.

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, or SLS, will be the most powerful rocket in the world, with the capability to launch humans beyond Earth’s orbit on Artemis missions. The SLS rocket, powered by four RS-25 core stage engines and two solid rocket boosters, along with an RL10 in-space propulsion engine, provides the energy necessary to launch the Orion spacecraft to the Moon or beyond.

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