NASA is preparing to test its mega rocket in a “wet dress rehearsal” for an upcoming lunar mission.
All components for the Artemis I mission have been cleared to be rolled out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
NASA’s The moon mission of 2022 is called Artemis 1.
It will test hardware to enable NASA to land the first woman and first black person on the moon by 2025.
This manned mission is referred to as Artemis 3 and much has yet to happen before it can take place.
Before Artemis 1 can start, NASA wants to test all components.
All major parts should be on the launch pad by March 17th.
Artemis 1 is not a manned mission, but it must orbit the moon to test three key components.
These are NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion spacecraft and the European Service Module (ESM).
The Orion spacecraft and ESM should come within 62 miles of the lunar surface and then travel 40,000 miles beyond.
It will take about three weeks to complete the mission and land in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego.
NASA also refers to the Orion spacecraft and SLS as a “mega-lunar rocket.”
It takes about 11 hours to bring the mega rocket from its storage location to the launch pad.
Once there, NASA has said it will take about two weeks for experts to prepare for the “wet dress rehearsal.”
This means that propellant is added to the rocket tanks and a full launch countdown occurs.
That should take place in early April.
However, NASA’s SLS and Orion spacecraft aren’t going anywhere.
How the equipment behaves determines when Artemis 1 can actually take off.
Tom Whitmeyer, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Exploration Systems Development at NASA, previously said: “The agency is waiting for the wet dress rehearsal to see how we fare… we will set the launch date at that point.
“We continue to evaluate the May launch window, but we recognize that there is still much work to be done and we need to ensure that we complete these testing and evaluation activities before setting a launch commitment date.”
If everything goes according to plan, all the equipment will be wheeled back to the vehicle assembly shop and a start date will eventually be set.
This could be almost anytime in May, June or early July.
It all depends on weather conditions and where the moon is in its lunar cycle.
Possible launch windows are May 7-21, June 6-16, June 29-July 1, and July 5-12 this year.
This story originally appeared on The sun and is reproduced here with permission.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/15/nasas-mega-rocket-that-will-take-humans-to-the-moon-and-mars-is-ready-to-launch-and-seen-in-rare-photo/ NASA is testing a mega-rocket designed to take humans back to the moon