NASA's Artemis-I Moon Rocket Rolls Out To Launchpad Today, Watch It Live Here
Artemis I is edging ever closer to making its historic launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The journey to launch is only the beginning for the Artemis program, which seeks to put humankind back on the surface of the Moon. Before the launch, however, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft must first undergo its wet dress rehearsal. The 4 mile trek from High Bay 3 to launchpad should take approximately 11 hours to complete.
The purpose of the wet dress rehearsal is to ensure the team's ability to load more then 700,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants into the rocket at the launchpad, practice each and every phase of the launch countdown, and drain propellants to show safely standing down on a launch attempt. The test will be the pinnacle of months of assembly and testing on SLS and Orion.
Part of the final touches before the dress rehearsal was to finish painting the iconic worm logo of NASA onto the SLS rocket boosters. Painters added parts of the logo before the segments were stacked, however, they had to wait to until the boosters were fully assembled to finish the paint job.
While the first Artemis mission will be comprised of an unmanned Orion spacecraft, future missions will see the first woman and first person of color on the Moon. Along with these historic firsts, NASA plans on establishing long-term exploration of the Moon in preparation for future Mars missions.
The SLS rocket is designed for missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO) carrying crew or cargo to the Moon and beyond. It will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust during liftoff and climb to loft a vehicle weighing nearly six million pounds to orbit. It is propelled by five segment boosters and four RS-25 engines. SLS will reach the period of greatest atmospheric force within ninety seconds.
The Orion spacecraft will be unmanned during the first Artemis mission, but is built to take humans farther into space than ever before. In future missions, the spacecraft will carry crew and provide emergency abort capability, as well as life support systems for astronauts and return them safely back to Earth.
Top Images Courtesy of NASA