NASA testing SLS this weekend

(ORDO NEWS) — The Space Launch System (SLS) has one more hurdle to overcome before its historic launch this summer.

This so-called dress rehearsal, during which the fully equipped SLS and the Orion spacecraft will conduct a series of operations at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. These tests will follow the arrival of the SLS at Launch Complex 39B after it is removed from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VLB) on March 17.

A wet dress rehearsal will take place from Friday, April 1 through Sunday, April 3, during which Launch Team I will load rocket tanks with propellant, run a full launch countdown, demonstrate the reusability of the countdown clock, and drain the fuel to give them a chance to work out the timeframes and procedures they will use at launch.

During the test, engineers will demonstrate the feasibility of a full launch countdown at the site. This will include loading more than 2.65 million liters of cryogenic fuel into the SLS rocket and draining it. It all started around 12:00 GMT on Friday when the Artemis I launch control team started the countdown.

During the day, they will charge the batteries of the Orion spacecraft, make final preparations at the junctions, and perform final pre-launch checks. Tank filling operations will take place on Sunday, subject to local weather conditions.

This is critical as weather restrictions stipulate that during the first hour within a 9 km radius of the site there must be less than a 20% chance of thunderstorms, wind speeds must not exceed 70 km/h and temperatures cannot fall below 5°C.

According to NASA blogs, meteorologists from the US Space Force have reported that there is currently less than a 5% chance of lightning.

Once this test is completed, NASA will be ready to launch the uncrewed Artemis I mission, which is scheduled for June.

This will be followed by the first flight of the SLS and Orion (Artemis II) with a crew of four in May 2024, which will make a circumlunar flight. By 2025, NASA will achieve a long-awaited return to the moon with the Artemis III spacecraft, which consists of a crew of four and a two-man lunar landing.

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