Photo: Marie Ozategui/AFP/Getty Images
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its attached Orion spacecraft began a new rehearsal Saturday in Florida (USA) ahead of the uncrewed launch of the Artemis I mission, which aims to establish a base on the Moon to expand human space exploration.
“This weekend marks the beginning of testing of the next launch pad for the #Artemis I mission to the Moon!” NASA wrote on Twitter.
According to the schedule, at 5:00 PM Florida local time (9:00 PM GMT), the launch team arrives at their stations and the countdown begins.
The schedule, released Friday on the mission blog, states that “filling the sound suppression system water tank” will continue today as well, as well as “starting the Orion spacecraft’s ignition.”
The blog also adds, that final preparations will be made for the four engines of the giant 98-meter SLS rocket, although the engines will not be fired during this test.
The most “sensitive” test will take place on Monday, 20 March with the filling and emptying of fuel tanks, which will be broadcast live on the YouTube channel of the US Space Agency.
NASA has advanced to a conference call to report the test results next Tuesday.
Engineers from the Artemis program will make the fourth attempt at revamping Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast, ahead of the unmanned launch of the giant SLS spacecraft.
During public testing, launch teams will rehearse the operations needed to load fuel into the missile’s tanks, as well as conduct a full launch countdown.
This test is all about showing how well draining the tanks works to give them a ‘chance’ to practice the timing and procedures they will use in the actual launch.
NASA will review test data before scheduling the launch of Artemis I, the first in a series of missions to create a lunar base to advance human space exploration.
Last April, NASA had to delay the testing process several times due to technical issues and finally decided to return the rocket and spacecraft to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).
Now, with the necessary arrangements, the massive Artemis I lunar rocket is on the launch pad for final testing.
If Artemis I will be an unmanned mission, Artemis II will carry astronauts on a manned flight around the Moon, and Artemis III is expected to land NASA personnel on the Moon for the first time in fifty years.
The agency said it hopes to bring the first woman and first people of color to the moon’s surface by 2025.
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