NASA began its wet dress rehearsal for the Space Launch System (SLS) as part of the agency’s Artemis I mission.
The wet dress rehearsal includes fueling the rocket’s tanks, a full launch countdown, delay launch, and drain fuel in the event of a rescheduled liftoff. During the rehearsal, the launch team will record data for use on the actual launch date.
NASA is providing a livestream of the rehearsal, which will last two days, ending on April 3.
The rehearsal, which includes the use of real propellant, acts as a countdown simulation. Once the countdown begins, the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft are powered on. From there, over 700 thousand gallons of fuel are loaded into the rocket.
After fueling is complete, the launch team then simulates a hold, where the clock is temporarily stopped in the event of an unplanned adjustment. The clock is then “recycled” to T-10 minutes, and the rest of the countdown proceeds as normal.
After the clock reaches T-9.34 seconds, the simulated launch is “scrubbed,” where the team will begin unloading fuel from the rocket.
NASA is expected to hold a post-test news conference for the rehearsal on April 4 at 11 a.m. E.T., which can be streamed live on the agency’s website.
According to NASA, SLS is the world’s most powerful rocket, and will make its trip around the moon this summer. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson addressed the nation during a State of NASA event, where he announced the agency’s fiscal year 2023 budget.
The FY 2023 budget will “allow NASA to sustain America’s global innovation leadership and keep NASA at the forefront of exploration and discovery by returning to the Moon with the Artemis program, among other efforts.”
According to NASA, the budget will also allow it to address climate change, promote economic growth, and increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. NASA’s budget will be $1.2 billion more than the previous year, for a total of $26 billion.
$4.7 billion for Common Exploration Systems Development in support of lunar missions$1.5 billion for astronaut Moon landers$2.4 billion for Earth-observing satellites and related research$1.4 billion for space technology research and development$970 million for aeronautics research, which included $500 million toward reducing aviation’s climate impact$150 million for the Office of STEM Engagement
On March 17, SLS made its way to launch complex 39B, where the wet dress rehearsal will be conducted. While the rehearsal is underway, NASA has not announced a specific date for launch.
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