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NASA's moon rocket SLS moved to Kennedy Space Center launch pad ahead of 1st flight

NASA's SLS rocket for the Artemis I mission moves from the Vehicle Assembly Building to LC-39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Photo: WMFE/Derek Demeter
NASA's SLS rocket for the Artemis I mission moves from the Vehicle Assembly Building to LC-39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Photo: WMFE/Derek Demeter

It took nearly 10 hours for the 322-foot rocket to make the four-mile trip from Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39B. The next time it moves, it will be traveling farther — and faster — on a test flight to the moon.

The SLS rocket is launching NASA’s Artemis I mission, the first in an increasingly complex cadence of missions aimed to land humans on the moon by 2025. This first flight will carry no crew, but serve as a critical test of NASA’s Orion space capsule, designed to take astronauts to lunar orbit. A second mission will carry astronauts to lunar orbit. The third flight will get them to the surface of the moon.

NASA plans to launch Artemis I as early as August 29 at 8:33 a.m. ET from Kennedy Space Center. The launch begins a nearly six-week mission that will orbit the moon, testing critical systems on the spacecraft before returning to Earth and splashing down in the Pacific. While there’s no crew on board, NASA is sending three test dummies wired with sensors to measure the effects of deep space for future astronauts.

With the rocket at the pad, teams will now configure systems for launch. Crews at KSC practiced the countdown and fueling of the vehicle back in June and are applying lessons learned to the updated launch timeline.

Copyright 2022 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher as it is rolled up the ramp at Launch Pad 39B, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky
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NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher as it is rolled up the ramp at Launch Pad 39B, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Brendan Byrne