NASA’s Gigantic Crawler on the Move As Rollout of Mega Moon Rocket Inches Closer

NASA Crawler Transporter-2 Artemis I

Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida drove Crawler Transporter-2 on March 11, 2022 to the doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Soon, it will go inside the VAB where it will carry the Artemis I Moon rocket to launch pad 39B. Credit: NASA/Chad Siwik

Yesterday, engineers and technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida drove Crawler Transporter-2, which will carry NASA’s Moon rocket to the launch pad, to the doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Soon, the 6.6-million-pound crawler will go inside the VAB and slide under the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft placed on the Mobile Launcher. Technicians will finish up preparations to transport the rocket traveling at a top speed of 1 mph to Launch Complex 39B for a wet dress rehearsal test ahead of the Artemis I launch.

This week, the Kennedy team also completed painting the NASA worm logo on the Space Launch System solid rocket boosters. While painters added parts of the iconic logo before the segments were stacked, they had to wait until the boosters were fully assembled to finish the job.

In addition, the team has continued to retract the 20 platforms that surround the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft ahead of rollout on March 17 for the wet dress rehearsal test. The wet dress rehearsal will be the final major test for the Artemis I mission and will ensure the rocket, spacecraft, ground equipment and launch team are “go” for launch.

Coverage, Activities Set for First Rollout of NASA’s Mega Moon Rocket

NASA will hold a media teleconference on Monday, March 14 to discuss the upcoming debut of the agency’s Mega Moon rocket and integrated spacecraft for the uncrewed Artemis I lunar mission.

VAB Artemis I Space Launch System Rocket and Orion Spacecraft

Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, work platforms are being retracted from around the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft in preparation to roll out for testing. Credit: NASA

Roll out of the integrated Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is slated for Thursday, March 17.

The media call will begin at 5:30 p.m. EDT after completion of a test readiness review, which will determine if the agency is ready to move forward with mission activities. The call will air live on the agency’s website.

Teleconference participants include:

  • Tom Whitmeyer, associate administrator for exploration systems development, NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, NASA Headquarters
  • Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch director, NASA Exploration Ground Systems program, Kennedy
  • John Honeycutt, manager, Space Launch System program, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama
  • Howard Hu, manager, Orion program, Johnson Space Center in Houston

Live coverage for rollout begins at 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 17 and will include live remarks from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and other guests. Coverage will air on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website

At the pad, NASA will conduct a final prelaunch test known as wet dress rehearsal, which includes loading the SLS propellant tanks and conducting a launch countdown.

The rollout involves a 4-mile journey between the Vehicle Assembly Building and the launch pad, expected to take between six and 12 hours. Live, static camera views of the debut and arrival at the pad will be available starting at 4 p.m. EDT on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel.

Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone on the way to Mars.

9 Comments on "NASA’s Gigantic Crawler on the Move As Rollout of Mega Moon Rocket Inches Closer"

  1. Very Interesting.

    Some Thoughts.
    1. Inclusion of a fleet of Ingenuity helicopters.
    2. Making the Crawler into a speedster
    3. Exploring the option of launch of future missions from Space.

    Views expressed are personal and not binding on anyone.

  2. Cancel SLS.

    It is ludicrously expensive and already obsolete.

  3. Saw the first landing when I was 16. This one will be the best.

  4. I saw the first landing when I was 22 on a summer job parking cars at the Carriage House Condominiums in Miami Beach. We watched on a very small, portable TV set in the garage office. After that came Woodstock in August. Wow, what a summer!

  5. Just another waste of money poisoning the atmosphere with its vapor trails and polluting Space with more junk! Fix Earth first.

  6. I saw Apollo 15 launch live. Nothing has compared with that. Would love to see SLS launch.

  7. Only $4billion to shoot it off. And for what, exactly? What did Apollo do again? Let Musk build his big rocket thing or Bezos or whomever. They will do it better and much cheaper.

  8. kamir bouchareb st | March 15, 2022 at 12:10 am | Reply

    goooooooooooood

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