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NASA targets late June for dress rehearsal of mega moon rocket


KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – NASA says after weeks of inspections and repairs, the agency is almost ready to roll its mega moon rocket to the launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center and retry a critical wet dress rehearsal that was plagued by failures during a previous attempt.

If engineers remain on schedule, the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft will be rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launchpad on June 6, with a full rundown test happening no earlier than June 19.

The agency was unsuccessful in completing the wet dress rehearsal in April due to a series of technical issues that included a faulty helium check vale and concern over leaks.

NASA believes its team has addressed the issues but will be keeping a wary eye on the sky for pop-up showers and thunderstorms that are usually almost a daily occurrence in the Sunshine State.

The Space Coast and NASA are susceptible to lightning strikes, which can cause havoc on operations.

The upcoming rehearsal is expected to include loading 700,000 gallons of super-cold fuel into the rocket but stop short of igniting the engines. 

If the lengthy test is successful, the Artemis I rocket stack will be rolled back to the VAB, where it’ll undergo preparations for a launch.

The space agency has not ruled out attempting an uncrewed launch of the SLC rocket and Orion spacecraft during the late summer.

Depending on the results of the Artemis I mission, NASA could proceed with sending humans to the moon aboard a future launch with the ambition of eventually reaching Mars by 2040.


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