After years of work, SLS sits on LC-39B ahead of its maiden flight on Artemis 1. The launch, set for the morning of August 29, will certainly be beautiful, but the rocket has already provided some brilliant views on its journey to the launch pad.
Much as the Apollo program first brought men to the surface of the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Artemis program will carry the first woman and first person of color to the surface of the Moon in the mid-2020’s. While this first mission is simply an uncrewed test flight, it makes way for the crewed missions of Artemis II and Artemis III. Artemis III will feature the first crewed landing of the program, with SpaceX’s Starship acting as the lunar lander.
Artemis 1 launch trailer
To travel from the VAB where the SLS rocket was stacked, to LC-39B where it will launch from, the rocket and mobile launcher were carried by one of NASA’s crawlers. Created to move the Saturn V rocket, the crawlers remained integral to the transport of the Space Shuttles, and now SLS.
The crawlerway the crawler moves upon is a path of special path of river rock, which are crushed under the immense weight of the crawler, mobile launcher, and SLS rocket.
Artemis 1 on the launchpad
With SLS on the launchpad, there are only a few more days until the launch window opens for two hours on the morning of August 29.
Should the teams be unable to complete the countdown that morning, there are also opportunities on September 3 and September 5, but after that the rocket would have to roll back to the Vehicle Assembly building. This is due to the limited amount of the the flight termination system batteries are certified for.
During a previous rollout for the wet dress rehearsal, Space Explored’s Jared Locke took a boat trip to see SLS on the pad during sunset.
Of course, seeing the rocket on the pad is just a small part of the excitement, and you’ll also want to watch the launch of Artemis 1, whether locally or through NASA’s stream.