NASA prepares to roll out giant Artemis moon rocket
by Paul Brinkmann
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 14, 2021
After years of delay, NASA plans to roll its massive new SLS moon rocket out of the historic Vehicle Assembly Building and onto it's launch pad for the first time Thursday.
The rollout will be the first time a NASA rocket so large -- 322 feet tall -- has moved to a launch pad since Apollo 17's Saturn V rocket did so before launching astronauts to the moon in 1972.
Space shuttles also made the same roll from the VAB to the launch pad from 1981 to 2011, but the new moon rocket will tower above the shuttle height, which was 184 feet when stacked on its large exterior fuel tank.
Thursday's events are to include a fully fueled rehearsal for an uncrewed launch to a lunar orbit planned for no earlier than May.
NASA plans a press conference at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Monday after completion of a test readiness review.
The rocket and Orion capsule will roll slowly to Launch Complex 39B, about four miles away. The space agency expects the journey to last six to 12 hours.
The Artemis I mission is to fly further past the moon than any spacecraft designed for humans in history.
NASA plans live coverage of the rollout beginning at 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, including live remarks from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and other guests.
Astra Space scrubs first launch since rocket failure because of lightning
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 14, 2021
California-based Astra Space scrubbed the launch of a rocket from Alaska on Monday due to a potential for lightning in the area, company officials said. The attempt was its first return to a launchpad since the company's stock plunged after it suffered a rocket failure during launch of a NASA mission from Florida on Feb. 10. "Astra scrubbing for the day, due to triggered lightning not improving for the rest of the window," the company's launch controller said on a livestream. The ... read more
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