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NASA Takes SLS to Launch Pad for ‘Wet Dress Rehearsals’

Launch preparations

NASA Takes SLS to Launch Pad for ‘Wet Dress Rehearsals’

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced that the giant rocket known as the Space Launch System, with the Orion spacecraft attached, has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center‘s Launch Pad 39B for final tests prior to its actual launch. It took 10 hours and 28 minutes for the crawler-transporter to wheel the 322-foot tall, 3.5-million-pound rocket and spacecraft from the KSC’s Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad, NASA said Friday.

NASA’s moon rocket is scheduled to send the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission on its way to lunar orbit sometime in the middle of 2022. Artemis 1 will be the SLS’s first flight and will also pave the way for subsequent missions that will bring American astronauts back to the moon after more than 50 years.

In a statement, the space agency said that the final tests on the SLS, called “wet dress rehearsals,” will run the Artemis I launch team through operations to load propellant into the rocket’s tanks, conduct a full launch countdown, demonstrate the ability to recycle the countdown clock and also drain the tanks to practice the timelines and procedures the team will use for launch.

Tom Whitmeyer, deputy associate administrator for Common Exploration Systems Development at NASA, called the SLS’s rollout to its launch pad “an iconic moment for the rocket and spacecraft, and a key milestone for NASA.”

The space agency said on its website that Artemis I, formerly known as Exploration Mission-1, will be the first integrated test of its deep space exploration systems. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration.

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Category: Space

Tags: Artemis Kennedy Space Center NASA Orion space Space Launch System Tom Whitmeyer