Final preparations underway for NASA’s next Artemis I wet dress rehearsal

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — At Kennedy Space Center’s launch complex 39B, teams are making final preparations for NASA’s next Artemis I wet dress rehearsal.

The pre-launch practice run will set the stage for an uncrewed flight test around the moon and be the first integrated flight test of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft.

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Read: NASA officials give an update on the status of Artemis-I test, launch

On Wednesday NASA’s Associate Administrator Jim Free provided an update on the plan for this weekend’s wet dress rehearsal.

“I want to make sure we all have the perspective of what we’re trying to do. This is the Artemis program, this is the first step from a launch perspective of getting us back to the moon,” Free said.

Read: Moon rocket to return to VAB for repairs ahead of ‘wet dress rehearsal’

Assistant Launch Director Jeremy Graeber said that while crews have yet to successfully fuel the rocket’s upper stage, much of what will be learned is not new.

“We’ve done a significant number of launch countdown simulations, so I’ve already been there. I’ve already had my head in that space,” Graeber said.

Read: Date set for next Artemis I dress rehearsal attempt

He said the unmanned launch is a key component of future flights.

“Yes, Artemis I is uncrewed but we’re demonstrating capabilities that need to work the way we have designed them and planned them so we can fly crew,” Graeber said.

NASA said that once the wet dress rehearsal is complete a launch date for Artemis I will be set for sometime this year.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.