CNN

NASA rolls mega Artemis I moon rocket out to the launchpad

Mar 18, 2022, 12:54 PM
Artemis I...
In this view looking up in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, all of the work platforms that surround the Artemis I Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft are fully retracted on March 16, 2022. The Artemis I stack atop the mobile launcher will roll out to Launch Complex 39B atop the crawler-transporter 2 for a wet dress rehearsal ahead of launch. Photo credits: NASA/Glenn Benson
(SLS)

Originally Published: 17 MAR 22 09:33 ET
Updated: 18 MAR 22 13:22 ET

(CNN) — The Artemis I mission is another step closer to its lunar launch.

The massive 322-foot-tall (98 meters) stack, which includes NASA’s Space Launch System rocket topped by the Orion spacecraft, rolled out for its testing debut at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday.

Related: BYU researchers introduce drought-resistant quinoa as nations face food challenges

The integrated stack, which sits on a mobile launcher, began its slow-moving crawl into launch position Thursday afternoon. The rollout officially began at 5:47 p.m. ET.

The 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) ride aboard one of the Apollo-era giant NASA crawlers from the assembly building to the launchpad took almost 11 hours. The stack arrived at the pad at 4:15 a.m. ET on Friday.

As the stack emerged on Thursday, it became the first moon-bound rocket to leave the building since Apollo 17 in 1972, or 50 years ago — also the last time anyone set foot on the moon.

“Every single vehicle that has carried humans beyond the bounds of low-Earth orbit has undergone integration and testing in that Vehicle Assembly Building, crawled down this roadway and launched right here from the Kennedy Space Center,” said Janet Petro, director for Kennedy Space Center, as the rollout began on Thursday.

Together, the rocket and spacecraft stand just taller than the Statue of Liberty.

“Rolling out of the (Vehicle Assembly Building) is really an iconic moment for this vehicle,” said Tom Whitmeyer, associate administrator for exploration systems development at NASA Headquarters during a Monday press conference. “Thursday is going to be a day to remember.”

A final test
Following a couple weeks of tests at the pad, the vehicle will be ready for its wet dress rehearsal the weekend of April 1 — the final test before launching the first uncrewed Artemis mission beyond the moon and back to Earth. NASA is collecting names to be put on a flash drive and sent into space on the Orion spacecraft.

The wet dress rehearsal includes running through the full set of operations to load propellant into the fuel tanks and a launch countdown — basically everything necessary for a launch without actually launching. During the hours of prep leading up to the wet dress rehearsal, more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants will be loaded into the rocket

If the test is successful, the stack will go back into the assembly building until it’s ready to launch.

“Artemis I is such an important mission for us,” said Howard Hu, manager of the Orion program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, during the Monday press conference. “It’s gathering very critical engineering data and validating our performance capability as spacecraft for our next mission and beyond — Artemis 2 with the crew and future missions as we go further and expand our capabilities in the solar system.”

The Artemis program has experienced a multitude of delays. The mission was originally scheduled to launch in November 2021, but the pandemic, storms like Hurricane Ida and other factors have drawn out the mission time line.

Artemis I is the first step of NASA’s ambitious program to land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon later in the 2020s. It’s all in preparation to establish a long-term lunar presence and to prepare for exploring Mars. Depending on the results of the wet dress rehearsal, the uncrewed mission could launch in May, June or July.

During the flight, the uncrewed Orion spacecraft will launch atop the SLS rocket to reach the moon and travel thousands of miles beyond it — farther than any spacecraft intended to carry humans has ever traveled. This mission is expected to last for a few weeks and will end with Orion splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

Artemis I will be the final proving ground for Orion before the spacecraft carries astronauts to the moon, 1,000 times farther from Earth than where the space station is located, said Cathy Koerner, former Orion program manager, in October. Koerner is now NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development.

After the uncrewed Artemis I flight, Artemis II will be a crewed flyby of the moon and Artemis III will return astronauts to the lunar surface. The time line for the subsequent mission launches depends on the results of the Artemis I mission.

“There’s no doubt that we are in a golden era of human space exploration, discovery and ingenuity in space, and it all begins with Artemis, I,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson during the rollout.

“The Space Launch System is the only rocket capable of sending humans into deep space. It’s the most powerful rocket in the world. Orion will venture farther than any spacecraft built for humans. And after a three-week journey of over a million miles, Orion will come home faster and hotter than any vehicle has before.”

NASA astronaut Victor Glover Jr. was also at the rollout and reflected on the importance of the Artemis program.

“This is our rocket, it’s humanity’s rocket,” Glover said. “When those four RS-25 (engines) and two solid (rocket boosters) light, I hope the whole world is watching. And I hope a lot of kids decide to study science and math because of it. And that’s really what it’s about, inspiring kids to go out and be their best selves.”

An iconic crawl
Artemis I rode on top of Crawler-transporter 2 for its trip to the launchpad, just like the shuttle missions and Apollo Saturn V rockets once did.

The 6.6 million-pound (3 million-kilogram) crawler carried the towering rocket stack and its mobile launcher at a top speed of 1 mile per hour (1.6 kilometers per hour).

The iconic crawler is one of two that have operated for more than 50 years at Kennedy Space Center. They were first operated in 1965 and can each transport 18 million pounds (8.2 million kilograms), or the weight of more than 20 fully loaded 777 airplanes, according to NASA. They are so wide that a professional baseball diamond could sit on top of each crawler.

“It’s gonna be amazing,” said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch director for NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems program at Kennedy Space Center on Monday. “She has been in operation for 50 plus years and underwent significant upgrades as part of getting ready for this vehicle and for Artemis operations.”

After upgrades, Crawler-transporter 2 should be able to keep hauling massive rockets to the launch pad for years to come.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

25 DESARROLLOS TECNOLÓGICOS REVOLUCIONARIOS DE ES

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The U.S. is tracki...
Oren Liebermann, Haley Britzky and Michael Conte, CNN

Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

(CNN) — The US is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday, a discovery that risks adding further strain to tense US-China relations. Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said the US government has been tracking the balloon for several days as it made its way over […]
14 hours ago
A federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing...
Tierney Sneed, CNN

Court says gun law targeting domestic violence suspects is unconstitutional

 (CNN) — A federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms is unconstitutional, a conservative-leaning appeals court ruled Thursday. The ruling is the latest significant decision dismantling a gun restriction in the wake of the Supreme Court’s expansion of Second Amendment rights last year in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. […]
14 hours ago
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA, USA - FEBRUARY 2: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Tuesday  morning 6 more wee...
Scottie Andrew, CNN

The bizarre history of Groundhog Day

So how did Groundhog Day go from a kooky local tradition to an annual celebration even those of us who don't worry about winter can find the fun in?
2 days ago
Multiple Michigan agencies are investigating what happened to three local rappers, Armani Kelly, 28...
By Michelle Watson and Amy Simonson, CNN

3 rappers have been missing for 10 days since their scheduled performance was canceled, Detroit police say

Multiple Michigan agencies are investigating what happened to three local rappers who went missing 10 days ago after a performance at a club was canceled, Detroit police said.
2 days ago
Tyre Nichols...
CNN

MLK invoked as Tyre Nichols’ life is celebrated in Memphis

Nichols, 29, who was Black, was subdued yet continuously beaten after a traffic stop by Memphis police on January 7. He died three days later.
3 days ago
Powerade is hoping that a revamped recipe and new look will help finally unseat Gatorade from the t...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN

Is that Gatorade? Or Powerade? It may soon be hard to tell.

Powerade is hoping that a revamped recipe and new look will help finally unseat Gatorade from the top spot in the sports drink arena.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
NASA rolls mega Artemis I moon rocket out to the launchpad