NASA to Roll Out Artemis Mega Moon Rocket for First Time

Orion Spacecraft Secured Atop SLS Rocket

The Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis I mission, fully assembled with its launch abort system, is lifted above the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The stacking of Orion on top of the SLS completes assembly for the Artemis I flight test. Teams will begin conducting a series of verification tests ahead of rolling out to Launch Complex 39B for the Wet Dress Rehearsal. Artemis I will be an uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under Artemis, NASA aims to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon and establish sustainable lunar exploration. Credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

Media registration is now open to capture imagery and video as NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft roll out of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida this winter for the first time. SLS and Orion will journey to Launch Pad 39B atop the crawler transporter-2 for a test in preparation for the agency’s Artemis I mission.

The exact date for the move is currently under review. Additional information on timing, as well as interview opportunities and NASA coverage for the final prelaunch test, known as a wet dress rehearsal, will be provided later. No onsite media support is planned during the test itself at this time.

During the rollout, media will have the opportunity to follow the journey from the iconic VAB to the pad from multiple locations. Experts from NASA and its partners will be available to answer questions during the beginning and end of rollout operations.

SLS in Block 1 Cargo Configuration Inside VAB

This illustration shows NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) in its Block 1 configuration inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. From top to bottom, the entire rocket measures about 312 feet high and has the capability of lifting payloads with a mass of more than 26 metric tons (57,000 pounds). Credit: NASA

During the test, planned approximately a week after arriving at the pad, teams from Kennedy’s Exploration Ground Systems, as well as the primary contractor, Jacobs, will load the rocket with more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercold, propellants and the team will run through the launch countdown sequence, ending prior to engine ignition. Engineers also will demonstrate procedures to drain the propellants from the rocket. After the test, the rocket and spacecraft will return to the VAB for final checkouts before launch.

Accreditation for this activity is open to U.S. and international media. International media must apply by Sunday, November 28. U.S. media must apply by Wednesday, December 8.

The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will test the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. With Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, and establish a long-term presence in preparation for missions to Mars.

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