October 1, 2022

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No, seriously, NASA's Space Launch System is ready for a flight

No, seriously, NASA’s Space Launch System is ready for a flight

Zoom / A NASA Space Launch System rocket, reflected in the spinning trough at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, lifts off for a fourth attempt at rehearsal on June 6, 2022.

Trevor Mahelman

It is already happening. NASA is finally ready to launch its massive rocket for the Space Launch System, and ban the disaster, the Orion The spacecraft will fly to the moon and back.

Final pre-launch preparations for the space agency for the Artemis I mission are going well, in fact, NASA now plans to roll the rocket to Launch Pad 39B as soon as Tuesday, August 16, at 9 p.m. ET (1:00 UTC Wednesday). This is two days before the previously announced rollout schedule.

This earlier launch date follows the completion of the flight termination system test over the weekend. This was the last major test of the launch system and spacecraft prior to commissioning and marks the completion of all major pre-launch activities. NASA continues to target three dates for its Artemis I launch attempt: August 29, September 2, and September 5.

The flight termination system is an isolated component of the missile. If a problem occurs during takeoff, ground control units can send a signal to the flight termination system to destroy the missile before it flies off course and threatens a populated area.

Because this termination system is separate from the missile, it has an independent power supply that has been rated for approximately three weeks. This limit is set by the US Space Force, which operates the eastern range, including the Kennedy Space Center. The problem with NASA is that one of the proposed launch dates, September 5, falls outside that specific limit.

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but, NASA said I got an extension from Space Launch Delta 45 on validating the flight termination system from 20 to 25 days before it needed to be retested. NASA said the waiver will be in effect throughout the Artemis I launch attempts. However, if the mission fails to launch in one of these three attempts due to weather, a technical problem, or other rubbing reasons, the rocket will need to be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building to work on the flight termination system.

Each of the next three launch opportunities will allow for a “long-range” mission for the Orion spacecraft, which will be uncrewed and fly in lunar orbit for several weeks before returning to Earth and landing in the Pacific Ocean. The duration of the assignments will range from 39 to 42 days.

The Artemis I mission represents an important step forward for NASA and its ambitions for the human exploration program in deep space. The next launch of the rocket will carry four astronauts around the moon, and its third launch is scheduled to enable humans to land there, possibly in the middle of 2020.

The SLS missile program has often been criticized for its significant delays and a price tag of more than $20 billion. But with a successful launch in a few weeks, the space agency will be able to put at least one of those criticisms to rest by proving that the massive rocket is working as intended.