NASA comes one step closer to Artemis I launch

The most ambitious mission that NASA has undertaken in decades is Artemis I. NASA confirmed this week that the Orion capsule that one day all astronauts to the moon and perhaps beyond was lifted and placed atop its massive SLS rocket in preparation for launch. The capsule was lifted into the air to attach to the top of the rocket within the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Currently, work is underway to secure the spacecraft to the rocket. NASA has given no indication of when the Orion capsule will be completely integrated with the SLS rocket. However, we do know that the SLS launch won't happen this year.

NASA administrator Bob Cabana has previously stated that the SLS launch is not likely to happen until early next year. Cabana made that statement in late September during the Maryland Space Business Roundtable. During that event, they talked about the SLS launch, stating that while it was hoped Artemis I might launch before the end of 2021, that was unlikely to happen.

However, he did say that the next major milestone for the mission was to attach the Orion spacecraft in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. At the time, Cabana said the attachment was scheduled to happen on October 13. After the capsule is attached to the top of the rocket, it will be moved to Launch Complex 39B for its wet dress rehearsal.

During that dress rehearsal, the rocket will be filled with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants. During the dress rehearsal, mission controllers will begin the launch countdown, but the countdown will cease before the engines would ignite during the actual launch. After the test, SLS and Orion will be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building to complete any remaining work before the actual launch, presumably sometime next year.