February 29, 2024

NASA’s Powerful SLS Rocket Fully Stacked for Artemis I Moon Mission – Liftoff for Deep Space in February 2022

ASA has finished stacking of the companys mega-Moon rocket and spacecraft that will release the next generation of deep space operations, including Artemis objectives on and around the Moon. Engineers and service technicians effectively secured the Orion spacecraft atop the fully put together Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at the agencys Kennedy Space Center in Florida just prior to midnight on October 21. Credit: NASA
NASAs Orion spacecraft is secured atop the firms effective Space Launch System rocket, and the integrated system is going into the last phase of preparations for an upcoming uncrewed flight test around the Moon. The mission, called Artemis I, will pave the method for a future flight test with team prior to NASA develops a routine cadence of more complex missions with astronauts on and around the Moon under Artemis. With stacking total, a series of incorporated tests now sit between the mega-Moon rocket and targeted liftoff for deep area in February 2022.
” Its difficult to put into words what this milestone means, not just to us here at Exploration Ground Systems, but to all the extremely talented individuals who have worked so difficult to assist us get to this point,” said Mike Bolger, Exploration Ground Systems program supervisor. “Our group has demonstrated incredible dedication preparing for the launch of Artemis I. While there is still work to be done to get to introduce, with continued integrated tests and Wet Dress Rehearsal, seeing the fully stacked SLS is definitely a benefit for everyone.”
Time-lapse of the stacking of the Orion spacecraft on top of the completely put together Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on October 21, 2021, in preparation for the uncrewed Artemis I introduce. Credit: ESA– European Space Agency

Engineers and technicians successfully secured the Orion spacecraft atop the totally assembled Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at the firms Kennedy Space Center in Florida just prior to midnight on October 21. NASAs Orion spacecraft is protected atop the agencys powerful Space Launch System rocket, and the integrated system is entering the final phase of preparations for an upcoming uncrewed flight test around the Moon. Countdown Sequencing Testing– conducts a simulated launch countdown inside the VAB to show the ground launch software and ground launch sequencer, which checks for health and status of the vehicle sitting on the pad. On launch day, the ground launch sequencer hands off to the rocket and spacecraft and an automated launch sequencer takes over around 30 seconds prior to launch.
There it will go through checkouts at the pad, and groups will practice the launch countdown and then recycle back to T-10 minutes to demonstrate the ability to scrub a launch and de-tank.

Each of the test campaigns will examine the rocket and spacecraft as an integrated system for the very first time, building upon each other and culminating in a simulation at the pad to get ready for launch day.
NASA completed stacking on October 21, 2021, of the firms Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I uncrewed mission around the Moon. The stacking operations were performed inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA
User Interface Verification Testing– confirms the functionality and interoperability of interfaces across the systems and aspects. Groups will perform this test from the firing room in the Launch Control Center and will begin by powering up Orion to charge the batteries and perform health and status checks of various systems. Next, the groups will do the same to check interfaces in between the core phase and boosters and the ground systems, and ensure functionality of various systems, consisting of core phase engines and booster thrust control, as well as the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS). A last integrated test, with all wire harnesses set up throughout the rocket and spacecraft, will confirm their ability to speak with each other and to ground systems.
Program Specific Engineering Testing– makes sure performance of a range of different systems. Following the user interface confirmation test for the core phase and boosters, additional screening will perform a number of checks in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for the core stage and booster systems, such as a booster thrust control test. Later on, engineers will carry out an extra engineering test throughout the visit to pad 39B for wet dress rehearsal.
End-to-End Communications Testing– integrated test of radio frequencies from mission control to SLS, ICPS, and Orion– all to demonstrate our capability to interact with the ground. This test uses a radio frequency antenna in the VAB, another near the pad that will cover the very first couple of seconds of launch, as well as a more powerful antenna that utilizes the Tracking Data Relay Satellite and the Deep Space Network.
Countdown Sequencing Testing– carries out a simulated launch countdown inside the VAB to show the ground launch software and ground launch sequencer, which checks for health and status of the vehicle resting on the pad. The groups will configure the rocket in the VAB for launch and run the sequencer to a predefined point in the countdown– testing the responses from the rocket and spacecraft and guaranteeing the sequencer can run without any issues. On launch day, the ground launch sequencer hands off to the rocket and spacecraft and an automated launch sequencer takes over around 30 seconds before launch.
Wet Dress Rehearsal Testing– shows the capability to fill cryogenic, or supercold, propellants, including detanking the propellants with the Artemis I rocket at the launch pad on the mobile launcher. Several weeks prior to the real launch, Artemis I will roll the roughly 4 miles to Pad 39B atop the crawler-transporter. There it will go through checkouts at the pad, and teams will practice the launch countdown and after that recycle back to T-10 minutes to demonstrate the ability to scrub a launch and de-tank.

Prior to presenting to the pad for damp gown, teams will perform the very first of a two-part test of the flight termination system inside the VAB. When the systems are validated, the 322-foot-tall rocket will roll back into the VAB for final assessments and checkouts, including the second part of the flight termination system test, ahead of returning to the pad for launch.
Leading up to release, Artemis I mission operations groups also will continue additional launch simulations to run the group through its speeds, ensuring they are ready for any circumstance with this new automobile come launch day.
The agency will set a specific date for the launch following an effective damp dress wedding rehearsal. The first in a series of progressively intricate objectives, Artemis I will supply a foundation for human deep area expedition and show our dedication and capability to extend human presence to the Moon and beyond prior to the first flight with team on Artemis II.