Teams are performing final checkouts of the Orion spacecraft’s service module before integrating the crew and service modules for Artemis II, the first Artemis mission with crew. In parallel, technicians from Airbus will conduct inspections of the solar array wings following the successful completion of service module acoustic testing in May, which ensured the service module can withstand the speed and vibration it will experience during launch and throughout the mission. During the inspections, each of the four panels will be fully redeployed and reexamined. The crew module also will undergo acoustic testing ahead of joining with the service module.
Provided by ESA (European Space Agency), the service module is the powerhouse that will fuel, propel, and provide in-space maneuvering capability, and is responsible for life support commodities such as water and breathable air for astronauts onboard Orion in support of future Artemis missions.
Engineers recently completed a series of acoustic tests on the European Service Module for NASA’s Artemis II mission while inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
During the testing, engineers surrounded the service module with large speakers and attached microphones, accelerometers, and other equipment to measure the effects of different acoustic levels. Engineers and technicians will analyze the data collected during the tests to ensure the service module can withstand the speed and vibration it will experience during launch and throughout the mission.
With this test complete, the team is on track to integrate Orion’s crew and service modules together later this year.
After its 1.4-million-mile mission beyond the Moon and back, the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived back at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Dec. 30. The capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 11 and was transported by truck across the country from Naval Base San Diego in California to Kennedy’s Multi Payload Processing Facility in Florida.
Now that Orion is back at Kennedy, technicians will remove payloads from the capsule as part of de-servicing operations, including Commander Moonikin Campos, zero-gravity indicator Snoopy, and the official flight kit. Orion’s heat shield and other elements will be removed for extensive analysis, and remaining hazards will be offloaded.
Artemis I was a major step forward as part of NASA’s lunar exploration efforts and sets the stage for the next mission of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion to fly crew around the Moon on Artemis II.
Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida have completed the final testing and checkouts of the Artemis I Moon rocket ahead of rolling to Launch Pad 39B. NASA is targeting as soon as 9 p.m. EDT of Tuesday, Aug. 16 for rollout ahead of a targeted Aug. 29 launch.
The crawler-transporter will roll inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and under the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft later today. Teams are currently working to prepare the integrated stack for rollout.
Over the weekend the team completed testing of the flight termination system, which marked the final major activity prior to closing out the rocket and retracting the final access platforms in the VAB.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. ET, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission were firmly secured inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center after a four-mile journey from launch pad 39B that began at 4:12 a.m. ET Saturday, July 2.
Over the next several days, the team will extend work platforms to allow access to SLS and Orion. In the coming weeks, teams will replace a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical and perform additional checkouts and activities before returning to the pad for launch.
At approximately 4:12 a.m. ET today, NASA’s Artemis I Moon rocket atop the crawler-transporter left launch pad 39B and began its 4-mile trek to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Once inside the VAB, teams will replace a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical to address a liquid hydrogen leak detected during the wet dress rehearsal, along with planned forward work as the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft are readied for launch.
At approximately 12:10 a.m. EDT on June 6, NASA’s Artemis I Moon rocket began its journey from Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Poised atop its crawler transporter, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft will make the 4-mile journey to launch pad 39B to undergo the next wet dress rehearsal test attempt.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. ET today, NASA’s Artemis I Moon rocket atop the crawler-transporter is scheduled to leave launch pad 39B and begin its 4-mile trek to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Once inside the VAB, teams will work on replacing a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak within the tail service mast umbilical ground plate housing on the mobile launcher while the supplier for the gaseous nitrogen makes upgrades to their pipeline configuration to support Artemis I testing and launch. Following completion, teams will return to the launch pad to complete the next wet dress rehearsal attempt.
Teams at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are preparing the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for their return to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) early next week. As work continues at the launch pad throughout the weekend, we will also continue working closely with our commercial crew partners to confirm a date and time. The transition is underway to move from the testing configuration to the roll back formation needed to return to the VAB. This process includes offloading hydrazine from the twin solid rocket boosters and disconnecting the rocket and spacecraft from the ground systems infrastructure at the launch pad. The core stage propellant was drained shortly after completing the last test attempt. The rocket and spacecraft remain in a safe configuration and will soon be placed atop the crawler-transporter for the 4-mile trek to the VAB.
Inside the VAB, engineers will repair a faulty helium check valve and a hydrogen leak on the mobile launcher while the supplier for the gaseous nitrogen makes upgrades to their pipeline configuration to support Artemis I testing and launch.
While most objectives associated with the wet dress rehearsal were met during recent testing, teams plan to return to the launch pad when repairs and checkouts in the VAB are complete for the next full wet dress test attempt. Following completion of the test, SLS and Orion will return to the VAB for the remaining checkouts before rolling back out to the pad for launch.
Teams concluded today’s wet dress rehearsal test at approximately 5:10 p.m. EDT after observing a liquid hydrogen (LH2) leak on the tail service mast umbilical, which is located at the base of the mobile launcher and connects to the rocket’s core stage. The leak was discovered during liquid hydrogen loading operations and prevented the team from completing the test.
Before ending the test, teams also met test objectives for the interim cryogenic propulsion stage by chilling down the lines used to load propellant into the upper stage. They did not flow any propellant to the stage because of an issue with a helium check valve identified several days ago.
When teams paused propellant loading, the rocket’s core stage liquid oxygen tank was about 49% filled and the liquid hydrogen tank had been loaded to about 5% capacity prior to the hydrogen leak.
Teams are now working to drain propellant from the rocket. They will inspect the umbilical connection, review data, and establish a go-forward plan to address the hydrogen leak.
NASA plans to host a media teleconference April 15 to provide updates on troubleshooting and next steps for the wet dress rehearsal test.