Progress continues on NASA’s massive SLS rocket ahead of Artemis I launch

This artist’s rendering shows an aerial view of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket liftoff. Credit: NASA/MSFC

Work continues inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at " data-gt-translate-attributes="[{" attribute="">Nasa‘s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for the Artemis I wet dress rehearsal test, currently scheduled for next month. Teams installed the flight termination system on the rocket and worked on the first of a two-part test of the system.

For safety reasons, all rockets must have a flight termination system that the Space Launch Delta 45 can use to terminate the flight if necessary. After the rocket and spacecraft systems have been checked out during the rehearsal wetsuit tests, the 322-foot-tall rocket will return to the VAB for final inspections and checkouts, including the second part of the test of the flight termination system, before returning to the pad for launch.

Center Stage of Teams Lower Space Launch System

Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs lower the Space Launch System‘s core stage – the largest part of the rocket – onto the mobile launcher, between the two solid rocket boosters, inside of High Bay 3 of the Kennedy Space Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA Center in Florida on June 12, 2021. Credit: NASA/Cory Huston

In addition to working on the flight termination system, the team is installing instrumentation on both solid rocket boosters and the core stage, as well as the instrumentation needed for the wet dress rehearsal deployment.

Artemis I is a flight test, and engineers will collect as much data as possible on the performance of all systems that are part of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft as well as Kennedy ground systems that support the vehicle during deployment, wetsuit rehearsal, and launch. Not only will this be the first integrated flight for SLS and Orion, but it will be the first use of many new ground systems.

Thousands of sensors and special instruments will monitor the rocket and spacecraft as they make the four-mile journey to Launch Complex 39B next month. The team is also working on inspecting and installing thermal blankets on the main stage motor section.

Next, the team plans to power up the Orion spacecraft as part of flight termination system testing, then close the spacecraft’s hatch after shutting it down.

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