Engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are in the process of preparing the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the next launch attempt in November for the Artemis I mission. Check-outs conducted this week will allow NASA to finalize the work schedule before rolling SLS and Orion back to Launch Pad 39B.
Since resuming work after Hurricane Ian, teams have extended work platforms around SLS and Orion to assess the exterior and access internal components. Exterior inspections will note any foam or cork from the thermal protection system on the rocket or spacecraft that might need to be repaired. Teams will replace the flight batteries for the interim cryogenic propulsion stage and the boosters, as well as the batteries for the flight termination system in the boosters and core stage.
Work will also include charging the CubeSats that are equipped to be re-charged and have elected to do so. Inside Orion, work will include replenishing the specimens and batteries for the biology investigations riding within the capsule, as well as recharging the batteries associated with the crew seat accelerometers and space radiation experiments.
While teams inside the Vehicle Assemble Building complete check-outs, managers are coordinating with the U.S. Space Force to reserve launch dates on the Eastern Range and working with other parts of the agency to evaluate any potential constraints before NASA sets a target date for the next launch attempt.
Although the Kennedy area received minimal impacts from Hurricane Ian, many team members who live farther west experienced larger effects from the storm and are still recovering. Managers are working with teams to ensure they have the time and support needed to address the needs of their families and homes.