Space

NASA’s Artemis I Mega Moon Rocket Begins Roll To Launch Pad

NASA SLS Rocket Orion Mobile Launcher

The mobile launcher with NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building’s High Bay 3 to Launch Complex 39B on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As part of the agency’s Artemis I flight test, the fully stacked and integrated SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft is scheduled to liftoff on Monday, August 29. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

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 ahead of launch, currently targeted for August 29. At about 10 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. PDT) the crawler-transporter began the approximately 4-mile, journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39B.

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 journey is expected to take between eight and 12 hours. NASA will provide an update once the rocket has arrived at the launch pad.

Artemis is the first step in the next era of human exploration. Together with commercial and international partners, NASA will establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for human missions to Mars.

The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human presence to the Moon and beyond. 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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