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.
The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I flight test are rolling to launch pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of launch. At about 11:17 p.m. EDT the crawler-transporter began the approximately 4-mile journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the launch pad.
Once outside the VAB high-bay doors, the Moon rocket will make a planned pause allowing the team to reposition the crew access arm on the mobile launcher before continuing to the launch pad. The journey is expected to take between eight to 12 hours. NASA will provide an update once the rocket has arrived at the pad. A live stream view of the rocket and spacecraft departing VAB and arriving at the launch pad is available on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube Channel.
Launch is currently targeted for Nov. 14 at the opening of a 69-minute launch window starting at 12:07 a.m. EST.
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.
At approximately 11:45 a.m. today, a fire alarm was triggered in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The notification came when an arc flash event occurred at a connector on an electrical panel in High Bay 3. A spark landed on a rope marking the boundary of the work area. The rope began to smolder, workers pulled the alarm, and employees evacuated the building safely.
The incident occurred on the third floor of F-tower at the Mobile Launcher power connection. Technicians shut down power to the panel, and the center’s emergency responders declared the VAB safe for employees to return to work. There were no reported injuries, and the Artemis I rocket and spacecraft were not at risk.
The Artemis I vehicle and mobile launcher entered High Bay 3 earlier this morning after rolling back from Launch Complex 39B in advance of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to bring sustained tropical storm force winds to Kennedy as early as Wednesday evening. Engineers and technicians are evaluating the cause.
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.
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.
NASA is monitoring the forecast associated with the formation of a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea while in parallel continuing to prepare for a potential launch opportunity on Tuesday, Sept. 27 during a 70-minute window that opens at 11:37 a.m. EDT.
Managers are initiating activities on a non-interference basis to enable an accelerated timeline for rolling back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to protect the rocket, should it be necessary. Discussions about whether to remain at the launch pad or roll back to the VAB are on-going and based on the latest forecast predictions. NASA will make a decision on whether to remain at the launch pad or roll back using incremental protocols to take interim steps necessary to protect people and hardware with a final decision anticipated no later than Saturday. The step-wise decision making process over the next day lets the agency protect its employees by completing a safe roll in time for them to address the needs of their families, while allowing flexibility to hold the launch window should weather predictions improve.
NASA is grateful to its agency partners at NOAA, United State Space Force and the National Hurricane Center for giving us the highest quality products to protect our nation’s flight test to return us to the Moon.
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.
Teams have resumed the flow of liquid hydrogen into the core stage after warming up the quick disconnect, or interface where the fuel feed line connects to the rocket, to reseat the connection as part of their troubleshooting plan to fast fill the propellant.
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.