According to NASA officials, if all goes well, the first deployment of the SLS rocket is scheduled for this Thursday, March 17. This is the first stage of the dress rehearsal for the Artemis 1 mission. This rehearsal will take place in a few weeks.
At a press conference on March 14, NASA’s Artemis program launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said they were in great shape and ready to execute that first spacewalk. . He added that this deployment was going to be amazing.
Thursday’s program will consist of transporting the Space Launch System or SLS mega-rocket and the Orion spacecraft using NASA’s Crawler-Transporter 2 vehicle. The aim will be to get them to the launch pad where they will be tested before their mission to the Moon which is scheduled to take place around May this year.
This first step is critical
The deployment of the SLS and Orion is the first step before the launch of the unmanned Artemis 1 mission. Artemis 1 is the first mission of NASA’s Artemis program which aims to land humans on the Moon for the first times since Apollo.
As for Thursday’s rollout, the event will start at 21:00 GMT. The giant carrier vehicle will take its first steps outside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). He will then take the SLS and Orion to the launch pad. According to the information, the journey will take 11 hours.
According to NASA officials, the Crawler-Transporter 2 is already over 50 years old, but it has undergone significant upgrades in preparation for this deployment, and careful testing has been carried out by technicians. For those interested, the event will be broadcast live on NASA TV on Thursday, March 17 from 9 p.m. GMT.
Preparing for the launch of Artemis 1
When the rocket and spacecraft are on the launch pad, the NASA team will conduct a dress rehearsal, better known as the “wet dress rehearsal”. During this final test, team members will fuel the SLS rocket and begin a practice countdown. During the press conference given on March 14, the team announced that the date scheduled for the dress rehearsal will be April 3. The SLS refueling process will take approximately 8 hours.
If all goes well during this rehearsal, the team is expected to spend eight to nine days testing before they can bring the SLS and Orion back to the VAB.
The Artemis 1 mission will launch the Orion spacecraft for a 26-day journey 450,000 kilometers from Earth. The ship will pass thousands of miles from the Moon and then return to Earth. This uncrewed mission will be a test to ensure that the SLS and Orion can transport humans to space safely.