Progress Continues on NASA’s Massive SLS Rocket Ahead of Artemis I Launch

Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket Liftoff

This artist’s rendering shows an aerial view of the liftoff of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Credit: NASA/MSFC

Work continues inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for the Artemis I wet dress rehearsal test, currently targeted for next month. Teams have been installing the flight termination system on the rocket and working on the first of a two-part test of the system.

For safety, all rockets are required to have a flight termination system that the Space Launch Delta 45 can use to terminate the flight if necessary. Once the rocket and spacecraft systems are verified during wet dress rehearsal testing, the 322-foot-tall (98-meter-tall) rocket will roll back into the VAB for final inspections and checkouts, including the second part of the flight termination system test, ahead of returning to the pad for launch.

Teams Lower Space Launch System Core Stage

Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs lower the Space Launch System core stage – the largest part of the rocket – onto the mobile launcher, in between the twin solid rocket boosters, inside High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 12, 2021. Credit: NASA/Cory Huston

In addition to working on the flight termination system, the team is installing instrumentation on the twin solid rocket boosters and core stage, as well as instrumentation needed for the wet dress rehearsal rollout.

Artemis I is a flight test, and engineers will capture as much data as possible on the performance of all the systems that are part of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft as well as the Kennedy ground systems that support the vehicle during rollout, wet dress rehearsal, and launch. Not only will this be the first integrated flight for SLS and Orion, but it will be the first use of many new ground systems.

Thousands of sensors and special instruments will monitor the rocket and spacecraft as they make the four-mile journey to Launch Complex 39B next month. The team is also working to inspect and install thermal blankets on the core stage engine section.

Up next, the team plans to power up the Orion spacecraft as part of testing the flight termination system and then close the spacecraft’s hatch after powering it down.

1 Comment on "Progress Continues on NASA’s Massive SLS Rocket Ahead of Artemis I Launch"

  1. A complete waste of money. NASA should be focused on reusing as many parts of their launch vehicals as possible

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