NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket to make first historic journey to the launch pad

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — We’re less than an hour away from an important step in NASA’s historic return to the moon.

The agency is preparing to roll out its massive moon rocket to the launchpad for a final dress rehearsal.

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This is all for Artemis 1, an uncrewed mission around the moon.

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The rocket is set to move out of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building for the first time around 5 p.m.

Photos: NASA’s Artemis I moon rocket to make first historic journey to the launch pad

It will take around an hour for the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to travel outside of the VAB’s high bay.

The launch vehicles will begin their slow, four-mile journey to the launchpad.

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Sitting on the mobile launcher platform, it will take 10 to 12 hours for the SLS and Orion to reach Launch Complex 39-B for a wet dress rehearsal test.

The test is set for April 1 and will demonstrate NASA’s ability to load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or super-cold, propellants into the rocket at the launch pad and practice every phase of the launch countdown, setting the stage for the Artemis 1 launch.

The uncrewed mission will be the first flight of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft together.

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“This test will be a one-of-a-kind test for us just to make sure that everything’s good,” said Cliff Lanham with NASA. “You’re loading for the first time into the vehicle, first time the vehicle will have been at the pad here. So, you’re wringing out the system, making sure you don’t have any issues. You don’t want to find those out on launch day or when we roll out for launch.”

Once the test run is complete and teams have had time to analyze the data, a launch date will be set for Artemis 1.

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