The Orion spacecraft for the Artemis II mission is nearing final assembly and testing at prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) production facility. After a final standalone test on the Orion crew module (CM), it is expected to be mated to the service module (SM) in mid-September. If there are no problems in the remaining months of testing, Lockheed Martin believes they can complete their work by the end of April next year.
NASA is planning Artemis II as a week-and-a-half long, lunar-flyby mission; it will be the first crewed test flight for Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS) and the four-person astronaut crew recently visited KSC together for the first time to see their spacecraft. With major hardware like Orion and the SLS Core Stage not yet completed, the space agency is retaining its late November 2024 launch forecast as a “work to” date, although the pace of work is currently “a number of weeks” behind that forecast.