Teams Work Final Preparations for Roll Out of Artemis I Moon Rocket

Two manikins are installed in the passenger seats inside the Artemis I Orion crew module atop the Space Launch System rocket in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 8, 2022. As part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) investigation, the two female manikins – Helga and Zohar – are equipped with radiation detectors, while Zohar also wears a radiation protection vest, to determine the radiation risk on its way to the Moon. Photo credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

Engineers are conducting the last integrated test before the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft roll out to Launch Pad 39B next week for the launch of the Artemis I flight test. This week, teams began the second part of the flight termination system (FTS) test. The first part of the test was conducted earlier this year prior to the wet dress rehearsal.

For safety purposes, all rockets are required to have a system that the Space Launch Delta 45 can use to terminate the flight if necessary. Following completion of the FTS testing, the Eastern Range requires SLS to launch within a certain timeframe. In order to meet the Aug. 29 launch attempt and backup attempts on Sept. 2 and 5, NASA has received an extension from the Space Launch Delta 45 on the validation of the FTS from 20 to 25 days before the system would need to be retested. The waiver will be valid throughout the  Artemis I launch attempts.

Once the flight termination system testing is complete, teams will complete final closeouts on SLS and Orion before it rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building, including closing out the core stage and solid rocket boosters and retracting the remaining access platforms. The Orion crew module and launch abort system hatches were closed earlier this week, and Orion is in the final preparations for roll.

The Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment torsos, Helga and Zohar, outfitted with sensors to measure radiation levels future crew will be exposed to, have joined Commander Campos and are now installed inside the Orion spacecraft. The final payloads, including the agency’s Biology Experiment-1, will be installed once the rocket and spacecraft are at the pad for launch.

The agency is targeting Thursday, Aug. 18 to roll SLS and the Orion spacecraft to the spaceport’s Launch Pad 39B and will provide a live stream beginning at 6 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 17 on the NASA Kennedy You Tube channel.