Last week we told you that the final preparations on the stack of the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule were underway and that the work platforms positioned around it were starting to be removed, a sign that the move from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy NASA’s Space Center (KSC), towards Launch Complex 39b, would be very imminent.
And so it was, and just last night the journey of just over 6 km lasting 11 hours, a route covered in complete safety and performed at a speed of 1.3 km / h, which is expected to end in the early part of the morning of today 18 March. The operation was carried out thanks to the powerful vehicle called crawler-transporter 2 (CT-2), which had the onerous task of transporting the 2.5 million kg of SLS and the 23,000 kg of Orion.
We already know that the departure of the Artemis I mission is expected towards the end of May, but there will be other important occasions to follow before the event, for example it is known that at the beginning of April NASA will conduct a first launch simulation, with much of propellant load and countdown. Subsequently the Orion rocket and capsule stack will return to the VAB where the final tests and any tweaks will be conducted, and then return to Launch Complex 39b for the actual launch.
For those wondering, the CT2 tracked vehicle that allowed the transport of such a load is similar to a huge tank, but integrates a mobile launch platform with platform and support tower. The choice of LC-39B for departure is also of great historical value, as it is the same location from which the Apollo missions and several Space Shuttle flights departed.
Waiting for more info we leave you the replay of last night’s event, during which the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule began the journey to the launch site.
The journey traveled during the night, according to our time zone, ended this morning at 09:15. The SLS rocket and the Orion capsule arrived on Launch Pad 39B for the first time. There will be a few weeks left until the first simulation, as we explained better above. More details in the coming days.