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Here’s the Artemis I SLS Enjoying Its Last Days on Earth

Following the marginally successful wet dress rehearsal test not long ago, NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is officially ready to put the Orion spaceship on a trajectory to the Moon. It will do so, if the stars align, on August 29.
Artemis I final rollout 14 photos
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That means we have about 12 days left until the historic moment, but that doesn’t mean the space agency’s engineers are taking a break. Today, August 17, at 7:30 a.m. EDT, they just finished moving the beast from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the Launch Complex 39B, where the rocket now rests.

This isn’t the first time the SLS was rolled out, so some could say the moment was not something of a premiere. Yet, this rollout is the final one, as now the SLS is on the pad with a single mission in mind: launch.

A series of photos showing the behemoth both on the road and on the pad we’re released today, as a celebration of the rocket’s final days on this Earth, and you can enjoy them all in the attached gallery.

The uncrewed Artemis I is the first “integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.”

After launch, Orion will move to a distance of 280,000 miles (451,000 km) from Earth in a mission estimated to last six weeks. This is the first time in history a spaceship meant to carry humans will move to such a distance, and stay in space for this long. It will also “return home faster and hotter than ever before.”

If successful, the mission will open the doors to Artemis II, a crewed mission not meant to put American boots on the Moon. It’s Artemis III that will get that honor, hopefully by the end of the decade.

 
 
 
 
 

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