Following a profitable check of its fueling capabilities final month, NASA’s next-generation rocket, the Area Launch System, will return to its dwelling on the Car Meeting Constructing on the Kennedy Area Middle in Florida right now. The rocket, supposed to ultimately carry astronauts again to the moon beneath the Artemis program, might launch for the primary time on the uncrewed Artemis I mission in late August or early September.
For the fueling check, referred to as the moist gown rehearsal, the rocket was wheeled out of the Car Meeting Constructing or VAB and onto Launch pad 39B the place it has stayed for the previous few weeks. Now, the rocket will head again inside for closing changes. However shifting the 212-foot-tall rocket throughout the 4 miles from the launch pad to the constructing isn’t a easy process, it requires using a large crawler and takes a number of hours.
Returning the rocket to the constructing had initially been scheduled for yesterday, Friday, July 1, however was pushed again by someday as a consequence of the trail alongside which the crawler travels, referred to as the crawlerway, being uneven. “The inclined pathway should be exactly degree with an excellent distribution of the rocks that make up the crawlerway so as to assist the load of the cell launcher and rocket that it’ll carry,” NASA defined, so groups spent yesterday leveling out the slope so it might be utilized by the crawler.
NASA introduced that the rocket and crawler left the launch pad at 4:12 a.m. ET this morning, Saturday, July 2, and that it was scheduled to arrive on the constructing later this morning. You may watch the rocket’s progress both utilizing the video embedded above or by heading to the Kennedy Area Middle newsroom YouTube channel.
“As soon as contained in the VAB, groups will exchange a seal on the short disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical to deal with a liquid hydrogen leak detected in the course of the moist gown rehearsal, together with deliberate ahead work because the Area Launch System and Orion spacecraft are readied for launch,” NASA wrote.
Following the moist gown rehearsal, the hope was that the rocket might launch on its first mission as early as August. This aim was confirmed to Ars Technica this week, with NASA’s senior exploration official Jim Free telling Ars that they’re working towards a launch window of August 23 to September 6 for the Artemis I launch.