NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) program and prime launch processing contractor Jacobs are performing final installations, functional checks, and buttoning up the Artemis 1 vehicle in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida before rolling it out to its seaside launch pad for the first time. Rollout to Launch Pad 39B will be no earlier than mid-February after an engine computer needed to be replaced at the end of the year.
In addition to finishing functional checks and closing the Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage engine compartment out for launch, EGS and Jacobs are also preparing to re-run a countdown sequencing test to verify that the ground-based launch sequencer is ready to conduct launch countdowns for the integrated Orion and SLS vehicle. The first vehicle trip to the pad will be to conduct a full launch countdown demonstration test called the Wet Dress Rehearsal.
The schedule still projects that the vehicle could be ready to launch no sooner than the end of lunar launch window in March, but doesn’t leave much time to address issues and later windows beginning in April are more realistic.