The giant rocket of the historic unmanned mission Artemis I arrived this Wednesday morning at its launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida (USA), from which it will take off towards the Moon on next August 29.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft on its apex arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s platform 39B around 7:30 a.m. local time today (11:30 a.m. GMT), at after a transfer from the assembly hangar of the Floridian complex that lasted about ten hours.
The Space Launch System rocket On a large rolling platform, called Crawler-Transporter 2, the 98-meter-high rocket and the eight-meter spacecraft traveled the 6.4-kilometre route between the two sites without incident at a speed of 1, 6km/h
“In the coming days, engineers and technicians will configure the systems on the platform for launch,” NASA said in a blog dedicated to the Artemis program, after extracting the rocket from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB, in English). ) around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The move comes after NASA engineers and technicians successfully completed tests over the weekend of the “flight termination system,” which is designed to destroy the rocket in an emergency.
The US space agency maintains for the morning of August 29 the tentative takeoff date for the Artemis I mission, which will travel to the Moon, orbit it and then return to Earth 42 days after being launched.
Until its scheduled return on October 10 in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of San Diego, in California (USA), the Orion spacecraft will have traveled some 2.1 million kilometers during this mission in which it will remain in space and without docking to a station longer than any other spacecraft.
“This first Artemis mission will demonstrate the performance of both Orion and the SLS rocket and test our capabilities to orbit the Moon and return to Earth. The flight will pave the way for future missions to the lunar region,” NASA explains in the website of this space program.
It is expected that in 2024 the Artemis II mission will make the same route but already with a crew on board, while in 2025 NASA plans to take astronauts to the Moon with Artemis III, the first NASA mission to carry humans to the Earth satellite since more than half a century ago.
The last mission in which NASA astronauts set foot on the Moon was Apollo 17, which took place between December 7 and 19, 1972. EFE (SLS, for its acronym in English) and the Orion spacecraft in its peak arrived at platform 39B of the Kennedy Space Center around 7:30 today, local time (11:30 GMT), after a transfer from the assembly hangar of the Florida complex that lasted about ten hours.