NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida started rolling the Artemis 1 stack — a Space Launch System(SLS) rocket topped with an Orion crew capsule – from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at 12:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). On June 6, Monday morning, the massive moon rocket was again taken on the four-mile (6.4 km) journey to historic Launch Complex 39B. The arrival of Artemis 1 at the pad shortly before 10:00 EDT, i.e., 1400 GMT, after an overnight journey that took approximately 10 hours. The vehicle stack and ground systems are now waiting for the next try to fuel the rocket and provide certain stimulation to launch countdowns for a crucial series of launch rehearsals known as a “wet dress rehearsal.” Scientists expect this to start on the 19th of June.
SLS’s highly anticipated debut voyage, Artemis 1, will be made. Delays and overruns have plagued the development of the SLS. (Orion flew before on a 2014 journey to Earth orbit.)
To prepare for upcoming Artemis missions aiming to take humans on the moon again, the mission will fly an Orion, without the crew, around the moon. NASA will take all the precautions to confirm that the launch is successful. NASA has also decided to cancel the April 1st launch rehearsal to make room for future maintenance. This is after failing three attempts at the loading of cryogenic fuel in SLS
The rollout of Artemis 1, from Pad 39B to the VAB, was completed on 17th March. A wet rehearsal began on the 1st of April. NASA decided to return the vehicle and the MLP, i.e., Mobile Launch Platform, to the VAB on April 25 after failing to complete all tests. Technicians dealt with the actual causes of the wet dress scrub and used the VAB time to speed up the implementation process of any other scheduled upgrades.
Ground teams faced some problems in loading fuel into the Space Launch System, Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS), which is the reason for Orion’s orbital insertions and inject burns (trans-lunar). A leakage of hydrogen in the umbilical lines that connected MLP and ICPS was caused by loose flange bolts. NASA discovered that deterioration had occurred in the sealing of those bolts over time, and torque checks were implemented to tighten them.
Other repairs also addressed SLS’ cryo loading problems. The ICPS was equipped with a new check valve made of helium. Modifications were also done to the umbilical boots that allowed for quick disconnection during the liftoff of the Mobile Launch Platform systems.
Upgrades at the launch complex were possible ahead of schedule, despite the absence of the Artemis 1 stack from 39B Pad, for the past five weeks. The contractor of NASA, which supplies the infrastructure for handling and providing nitrogen gas at the launchpad, was able to almost double its capacity by adding another method of producing the gas.
During the launch rehearsal and the actual launch, enormous amounts of Nitrogen gas are used. The gas is used to cycle through the fuel tanks, the rocket’s hoses, and the ground’s infrastructure to purge the vessel’s cavities. NASA officials stated that the upgraded version would enable systems to reach their maximum design capacity and allow for fueling tests for up to thirty-two hours.
The next launch rehearsal for Artemis 1 will begin on the 19th of June and will last approximately forty-eight hours. The rocket will be taken through the actual preflight and fueling techniques until the moment before the engine starts.