Teams Complete Artemis I Booster Test Ahead of Rocket Return to Vehicle Assembly Building

Over the weekend, teams successfully conducted a test of the thrust vector control system on each of the twin solid rocket boosters of the Space Launch System for Artemis I while the rocket remains at Launch Pad 39B. The test was a follow-on to the wet dress rehearsal test campaign, which was completed last week.

During the test, engineers activated the booster hydraulic power units (HPU), which are hydrazine-powered turbines attached to hydraulic pumps that provide pressure to move the hydraulic actuators that gimbal the booster nozzles. The test verified the normal startup, operations, and shutdown of a fully integrated thrust vector control system, which controls the movement of the nozzles on each of the boosters during ascent. It also verified the rocket’s avionics system using both flight and ground software for the first time. The boosters were not ignited during the test.

The test was part of the objectives that were not completed during the wet dress rehearsal demonstration, as the rehearsal test ended at T-29 seconds during the terminal countdown. During launch, the automated launch sequencer gives the command to activate the HPUs at T-28 seconds.

Teams will drain the hydrazine from the boosters and are in the process of configuring the rocket and Orion spacecraft for their return to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the end of the week. Once there, teams will replace a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical to address a liquid hydrogen leak detected during the rehearsal. NASA plans to return the mega Moon rocket to the pad for launch in late August and will set a specific target launch date after replacing hardware associated with the leak.

A live feed of the rocket departing the launch pad and arrival at VAB will be available on the KSC Newsroom YouTube Channel.