NASA is targeting Saturday, June 18, for the beginning of the next wet dress rehearsal test of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with tanking operations on Monday, June 20.
The wet dress rehearsal is the final test before setting a specific target launch date for the Artemis I launch.
According to the space agency, the Artemis program relies on the expertise and capabilities of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“Just as it did during the Apollo era, Marshall is playing a vital role in Artemis, developing the Space Launch System, the backbone of NASA’s exploration plans,” stated NASA.
NASA’s Artemis program is poised to put new generations of explorers on the Moon by 2024 and establish a long-term human presence there by 2028.
During the upcoming test, the launch teams will rehearse operations to load propellant into the rocket’s tanks, conduct a full launch countdown, demonstrate the ability to recycle the countdown clock, and drain the tanks to give them an opportunity to practice the timelines and procedures they will use for launch.
The rehearsal is the final test needed before launch and will begin at 5 p.m. EDT Saturday, June 18 with “call to stations,” when members of the launch control team will arrive at their consoles to start the approximately two-day countdown. On Monday, June 20, the launch director and mission management team chair decide at approximately 7 a.m. if they are “go” or “no-go” to begin tanking the rocket. The team will count down to a targeted two-hour test window that opens at 2:40 p.m. During the test, the team may hold during the countdown as necessary to verify conditions before resuming the countdown, or extend beyond the test window, if needed and resources allow.
NASA will review data from the rehearsal before setting a specific target launch date for the Artemis I launch. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond prior to the first flight with crew on Artemis II.
Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a stepping stone to send astronauts to Mars.
NASA will provide live coverage of the test on NASA Television media channel, as well as audio streaming live on the agency’s website and through the NASA app.