NASA targets late June for dress rehearsal of mega moon rocket
Technical issues caused the agency to postpone the previous dress rehearsal
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – NASA says after weeks of inspections and repairs, the agency is almost ready to roll its mega moon rocket to the launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center and retry a critical wet dress rehearsal that was plagued by failures during a previous attempt.
If engineers remain on schedule, the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft will be rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launchpad on June 6, with a full rundown test happening no earlier than June 19.
The agency was unsuccessful in completing the wet dress rehearsal in April due to a series of technical issues that included a faulty helium check vale and concern over leaks.
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NASA believes its team has addressed the issues but will be keeping a wary eye on the sky for pop-up showers and thunderstorms that are usually almost a daily occurrence in the Sunshine State.
The Space Coast and NASA are susceptible to lightning strikes, which can cause havoc on operations.
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The upcoming rehearsal is expected to include loading 700,000 gallons of super-cold fuel into the rocket but stop short of igniting the engines.
If the lengthy test is successful, the Artemis I rocket stack will be rolled back to the VAB, where it’ll undergo preparations for a launch.
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The space agency has not ruled out attempting an uncrewed launch of the SLC rocket and Orion spacecraft during the late summer.
Depending on the results of the Artemis I mission, NASA could proceed with sending humans to the moon aboard a future launch with the ambition of eventually reaching Mars by 2040.