Artemis I Update: Orion Offloaded from USS Portland in Preparation for Transport to Kennedy Space Center

Team members with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems program successfully removed the Artemis I Orion spacecraft from the USS Portland Dec. 14, after the ship arrived at U.S. Naval Base San Diego.

Team members with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems program successfully removed the Artemis I Orion spacecraft from the USS Portland Dec. 14, after the ship arrived at U.S. Naval Base San Diego a day earlier. The spacecraft successfully splashed down Dec. 11 in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California after completing a 1.4 million-mile journey beyond the Moon and back, and was recovered by NASA’s Landing and Recovery team and personnel from the Department of Defense. 

Engineers will conduct inspections around the spacecraft’s windows before installing hard covers and deflating the five airbags on the crew module uprighting system in preparation for the final leg of Orion’s journey over land. It will be loaded on a truck and transported back to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for post-flight analysis.  

Before its departure, teams will open Orion’s hatch as part of preparations for the trip to Kennedy and remove the Biology Experiment-1 payload which flew onboard Orion. The experiment involves using plant seeds, fungi, yeast, and algae to study the effects of space radiation before sending humans to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars. Removing the payload prior to Orion’s return to Kennedy allows scientists to begin their analysis before the samples begin to degrade.  

Once it arrives to Kennedy, Orion will be delivered to the Multi-Payload Processing Facility where additional payloads will be taken out, its heat shield and other elements will be removed for analysis, and remaining hazards will be offloaded.

Weather Forecast Remains 90% Favorable for Artemis I Launch

Weather conditions remain 90% favorable for the Artemis I launch based on the Monday, Nov. 14 forecast from meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45. Liftoff is scheduled for 1:04 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 16 with a two-hour launch window.

The mission management team will reconvene this afternoon to review additional analysis from overnight operations in preparation for launch. NASA is targeting a teleconference at 6 p.m. to discuss the outcome of the meeting. Listen on the agency’s website at: https://www.nasa.gov/live .

Weather Forecast 90% Favorable for Artemis I Launch

Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 currently predict 90% favorable weather conditions for the Artemis I launch targeted for Nov. 16. Liftoff is scheduled for 1:04 a.m. EST with a two-hour launch window.

The mission management team will meet this afternoon to review the status of preparations for launch. NASA will host a teleconference at 7 p.m. to discuss the outcome following the meeting. Listen on the agency’s website at: https://www.nasa.gov/live .

Artemis I Moon Rocket Arrives at Launch Pad Ahead of Historic Mission

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher as it arrives at Launch Pad 39B, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Launch of the uncrewed flight test is targeted for Nov. 14 at 12:07 a.m. EST. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Around 8:30 a.m. EDT on Nov. 4, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived at launch pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a nearly nine-hour journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building. Teams will continue working to configure SLS and Orion for the upcoming Nov. 14. launch attempt.

Teams On Track for Artemis I Rollout to Launch Pad

Teams are on track to roll the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39B no earlier than Friday, Nov. 4 with first motion targeted for 12:01 a.m. EDT.

Minor repairs identified through detailed inspections are mostly completed. Preparations are underway to ready the mobile launcher and VAB for rollout by configuring the mobile launcher arms and umbilicals and continuing to retract the access platforms surrounding SLS and Orion as work is completed.

Testing of the reaction control system on the twin solid rocket booters, as well as the installation of the flight batteries, is complete and those components are ready for flight. Engineers also have replaced the batteries on the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS), which was powered up for a series of tests to ensure the stage is functioning properly. Teams successfully completed final confidence checks for the ICPS, launch vehicle stage adapter and the core stage forward skirt.

Teams are continuing to work in the intertank area of the core stage and upper section of the boosters to replace batteries. These areas will remain open to support remaining battery and flight termination system activities. Flight termination system testing will start next week on the intertank and booster and once complete, those elements will be ready for launch. Charging of the secondary payloads in the Orion stage adapter is complete.

Teams recharged, replaced and reinstalled several of the radiation instruments and the crew seat accelerometer inside Orion ahead of the crew module closure for roll. Technicians will refresh the specimens for the space biology payload at the launch pad. The crew module and launch abort system hatches are closed for the roll to the pad, and engineers will perform final closeouts at the pad prior to launch.

Teams will plan to move the crawler transporter into position outside of the VAB ahead of rolling into the facility early next week. The agency continues to target a launch date no earlier than Nov. 14 at 12:07 a.m. EDT.

 

NASA’s Moon Rocket and Spacecraft Arrive at Vehicle Assembly Building

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher as it returns to the Vehicle Assembly Building from Launch Pad 39B, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA made the decision to rollback based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

At approximately 9:15 a.m. EDT, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission were secured inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center after a four-mile journey from Launch Pad 39B that began at 11:21 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Ian.

After the storm has passed, teams will conduct inspections to determine impacts at the center and establish a forward plan for the next launch attempt, including replacing the core stage flight termination system batteries and retesting the system to ensure it can terminate the flight if necessary for public safety in the event of an emergency during launch.

Artemis I Moon Rocket Departs Launch Pad 39B Ahead of Hurricane Ian

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B as teams configure systems for rolling back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA made the decision to rollback based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian. NASA’s Artemis I flight test is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

At 11:21 p.m. ET Monday, NASA’s Artemis I Moon rocket  left launch pad 39B atop the crawler-transporter and began its 4-mile trek to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Managers decided to roll back based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian not showing improving expected conditions for the Kennedy area. The decision allows time for employees to address the needs of their families and protect the integrated rocket and spacecraft system.

Watch a live stream of the rocket arriving at VAB on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel and check back here for updates.

 

Artemis Cryogenic Test: Core Stage LH2 Underway; LOX Fill and Engine Bleed Test Complete

Fast fill continues for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank at a reduced pressure as teams monitor the area where the hydrogen leak was detected. Fast fill is complete for the core stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank and engineers have completed the engine bleed test, which flows supercold LH2 to the four RS-25 engines, bringing their temperature down to the conditions required for launch.

Follow along with live coverage of the cryogenic demonstration test ahead of the Artemis I mission.

Artemis Cryogenic Test: Core Stage LOX Fast Fill Underway, Proceeding Toward LH2 Slow Fill

Fast fill is underway for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank. Next, teams will transition from slow fill to fast fill for the liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank and initiate, or “kick start,” the engine bleed, which will begin flowing supercold LH2 to start cooling the four RS-25 engines down to the temperature conditions required for launch.

Follow along with live coverage and with the countdown milestones for the cryogenic demonstration test ahead of the Artemis I mission.