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Massive Moon Rocket Is Out and About for the First Time, Heading for the Launch Pad

Following years of planning and rocket science engineering at its finest, the mammoth machine that will eventually be taking humans back to the Moon is out of its assembly bay, and now heading to the launch pad from where the first test launch will take place sometime in the near future.
Space Launch System rollout begins 12 photos
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On March 17, the massive doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center opened, clearing the way for the 322 feet (98 meters) tall monster to come out in the open for the first time, and start moving to its destination.

The opening of the doors marked the beginning of a four-mile journey to the launch pad of the Launch Complex 39B. Propped on top of the crawler-transporter 2, which literally crawls at speeds of just 0.82 mph (1.32 kph), the Space Launch System rocket SLS will take anywhere between six and 12 hours to reach its destination.

The rollout will see the rocket get into position for something called wet dress rehearsal test. That pretty much means the Artemis I crew will go through all the steps of loading propellant into the rocket’s tanks and conduct a full launch countdown. The ability to recycle the countdown clock, but also the draining of the tanks are also part of this first major test.

As per the info available, 700,000 gallons (close to 3.2 million liters) of cryogenic propellants (liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen) will fill the massive tanks. The crew will go through the procedures just as they will during launch day, halting the countdown 10 seconds before the simulated liftoff.

At the time of writing it’s unclear when the test will be performed. Depending on its outcome, a specific date for the actual launch of the SLS on the Artemis I mission will be set.


 
 
 
 
 

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