NASA’s Artemis I Moon Rocket Arrives at Launch Pad Ahead of Historic Mission

NASA SLS Rocket Orion Mobile Launcher Launch Pad 39B

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B, Wednesday, August 17, 2022, after being rolled out to the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Launch of the uncrewed flight test is targeted for no earlier than August 29. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Around 7:30 a.m. EDT (4:30 a.m. PDT) the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived atop Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a nearly 10-hour journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building. 

In the coming days, engineers and technicians will configure systems at the pad for launch, which is currently targeted for no earlier than August 29 at 8:33 a.m. EDT (5:33 a.m. PDT) with a two-hour launch window. Teams have worked to refine operations and procedures and have incorporated lessons learned from the wet dress rehearsal test campaign and have updated the launch timeline accordingly.  

NASA SLS Rocket Orion Mobile Launcher Crawlerway

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, with the Orion capsule atop, slowly makes its way along the crawlerway at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, August 16, 2022/Wednesday, August 17, 2022. Carried atop the crawler-transporter 2, NASA’s Moon rocket is venturing the 4.2 miles from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39B ahead of the first flight test of the fully stacked and integrated SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft, scheduled to liftoff on Monday, August 29. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

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. In later missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the surface of the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a stepping stone on the way to Mars.

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