Final preparations underway for NASA's Artemis I Moon rocket and Orion as launch approaches
NASA is targeting August 29 for the launch of the Artemis I mission to the Moon. The mission teams are ahead of schedule to complete final checks and closeouts of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the next-gen Orion spacecraft in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
On the 212-foot-tall core stage, teams started flight closeouts inspections. Engineers will now test the flight termination system elements in the intertank of the core stage and the forward skirts of the solid rocket boosters before SLS rolls out to the pad for launch. Teams have also finished replacing the inflatable seal that sits between the mobile launcher's crew access arm and Orion's launch abort system and crew module to prevent anything from the outside environment getting inside the capsule.
#Artemis I, first and foremost, is a flight test. We have several main objectives we'd like to achieve to help us better understand @NASA_SLS and @NASA_Orion and prepare for a cadence of crewed missions. Read up on some of our additional test objectives: https://t.co/b2jHri99i1 pic.twitter.com/99cbmeMK5z— Jim Free (@JimFree) August 5, 2022
Artemis I will be the first in a series of increasingly complex NASA missions to build a long-term human presence on the Moon for decades to come. According to NASA, a successful launch on August 29 would result in a mission duration of approximately 42 days, with a targeted Orion splashdown on October 10.
The mission will be the first integrated test of SLS and Orion. During this flight test, Orion will venture thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of about a four to six-week mission.
The uncrewed mission aims to demonstrate Orion's systems in a spaceflight environment and ensure a safe re-entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery prior to the first flight with crew on Artemis II.