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.

Weather Remains 60% Favorable for Artemis I Launch, Sept 3.

Following the Artemis I pre-launch briefing, meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 predict a 60% chance of favorable weather conditions at the beginning of the two-hour launch window that opens at 2:17 p.m. EDT Sept 3, increasing to an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions toward the later part of the window. The primary weather concern for the two-hour launch window remains scattered rain showers. The weather guidelines for NASA’s Artemis I flight test identify conditions to launch the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft.

Teams will continue working their way through the countdown conducting planned health checks on SLS and Orion systems. The mission management team will meet early in the morning, Saturday, Sept. 3 and give the final determination for a “go” or “no-go” decision to begin tanking operations.

The uncrewed flight test will test SLS and Orion as an integrated system, demonstrating the performance of the rocket and testing the spacecraft’s capabilities as it journeys about 40,000 miles beyond the Moon over the course of about six weeks.

The first in an increasingly complex series of missions, Artemis I will pave the way for long-term lunar exploration, providing the foundation for extending human presence to the Moon and beyond.

Live coverage will begin on NASA television on the agency’s website and the NASA app at 5:45 a.m. with commentary and views of the rocket during tanking operations. Full launch coverage begin at 12:15 p.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, Theta.TV, and the NASA appNASA en espanol broadcast coverage will begin at 1 p.m. EDT.

Launch Director Gives “Go” to Begin Cryogenic Operations, NASA TV Coverage Underway

Artemis Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson has given the “go” to officially begin loading propellants into the Space Launch System rocket. The launch weather officer now reports there are no indication of lightning within five nautical miles of Launch Pad 39B. Tanking begins with chilldown of the core stage liquid oxygen transfer line.

NASA TV coverage is underway at http://www.nasa.gov/live.

Mission Management Team “Go” to Proceed with Tanking for Artemis I Mission

The Artemis I Mission Management Team has given the “go” to proceed toward tanking operations.

Weather conditions remain 80% favorable at the beginning of the two-hour launch window which opens at 8:33 a.m. EDT Aug. 29, with chances for rain showers increasing toward the later part of the window.

Artemis I launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson is scheduled to give the “go” to officially begin propellant loading operations just before midnight.

During tanking operations, teams will fuel the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2), beginning with the rocket’s core stage and then the interim cryogenic propulsion stage.

Tanking begins with chilling down the LOX lines for the core stage. The process for the chill down, or cooling, uses the propellant lines to load the rocket’s core stage LOX in preparation for tanking. The LOX tank holds 196,000 gallons of liquid oxygen, cooled to minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit. In sequential fashion, LOX and LH2 will flow into the rocket’s core stage tank and be topped off and replenished as some of the cryogenic propellant boils off.

The process involves slowly filling the core stage with propellant to thermally condition the tank until temperature and pressure are stable before beginning fast fill operations, which is when the tank is filled at a quicker pump speed. As the super cold liquid oxygen fills the core stage tank, some venting may be visible. The team also will conduct leak checks to ensure propellant loading is proceeding as expected.

At midnight, NASA TV coverage begins with commentary of tanking operations to load propellant into the SLS rocket. Full coverage begins at 6:30 a.m. in English and at 7:30, coverage in Spanish begins.

Below are the countdown milestones as planned for tanking:

  • Core Stage LO2 transfer line chilldown (L-8H15M – L-8H)
  • Core stage LO2 main propulsion system (MPS) chilldown (L-8H – L-7H20M)
  • Core stage LO2 slow fill (L-7H20M – L-7H5M)
  • Core Stage LO2 fast fill (L-7H5M – L-4H15M)
  • Core Stage LH2 chilldown (L-7H15M – L-7H5M)
  • Core Stage LH2 slow fill start (L-7H5M – L-6H15M)
  • Core Stage LH2 fast fill (L-6H15M – L-5H5M)
  • Core Stage LH2 topping (L-5H5M – L-5H)

L-5 hours and counting

  • Core Stage LH2 replenish (L-5H – Launch)
  • ICPS LH2 ground support equipment (GSE) and tank chilldown (L-4H45M – L-4H30M)
  • ICPS LH2 fast fill start (L-4H30M – L-3H30M)
  • Orion communications system activated (RF to Mission Control) (L-4H20M – L-3H45M)
  • Core stage LO2 topping (L-4H15M– L-3H55M)
  • Core Stage LO2 replenish (L-3H55M – Launch)
  • ICPS L02 MPS chilldown (L-3H55M– L-3H45M)
  • ICPS L02 fast fill (L-3H45M– L-2H55M)
  • ICPS LH2 validation and leak test (L-3H30M – L-3H15M)
  • ICPS LH2 tank topping start (L-3H15M – L-2H55M)

L-3 hours and counting

  • ICPS/Space Launch System (SLS) telemetry data verified with Mission Control and SLS Engineering Support Center (L-2H55M – L-2H45M)
  • ICPS LO2 validation and leak test (L-2H55M – L-2H30M)
  • ICPS LH2 replenish (L-2H50M – Launch)
  • ICPS LO2 topping (L-2H30M – L-2H10M)
  • ICPS LO2 replenish (L-2H10M – Launch)

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 a mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, after being rolled out to the launch pad 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 no earlier than Aug. 29. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Around 7:30 a.m. EDT the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived atop Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a nearly 10-hour journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building. 

In the coming days, engineers and technicians will configure systems at the pad for launch, which is currently targeted for no earlier than Aug. 29 at 8:33 a.m. (two hour launch window). Teams have worked to refine operations and procedures and have incorporated lessons learned from the wet dress rehearsal test campaign and have updated the launch timeline accordingly.  

NASA’s Mega Moon Rocket Begins Roll to Launch Pad

The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission are rolling to Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of launch, currently targeted for Aug. 29. At about 10 p.m. EDT the crawler-transporter began the approximately 4-mile, journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39B.

Once outside the VAB high-bay doors, the Moon rocket will make a planned pause allowing the team to reposition the Crew Access Arm before continuing to the launch pad. The journey is expected to take between eight and 12 hours. NASA will provide an update once the rocket has arrived at the launch pad.