SLS Countdown Preparations Continue At KSC

Credit: NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL—NASA on Aug. 25 was on track to begin the two-day launch countdown for its first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, leading to a launch attempt at 8:33 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29 from Kennedy Space Center.

The crawler-transporter, which carried the 322-ft.-tall rocket and Orion spacecraft out to Launch Complex 39B eight days ago, was repositioned over the weekend as ground teams completed final closeouts on the SLS rocket and the uncrewed Orion capsule that are expected to be sent on a 42-day flight test around the Moon. 

“We know that this is going to be a critical mission,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations.

The Orion crew module hatch was closed for flight on Aug. 25 after technicians performed final inspections and removed window covers and access platforms.

The 45-hr. 10-min. countdown was scheduled to begin at 10:23 a.m. EDT on Aug. 27. Barring technical or weather issues, fueling of the SLS core and upper stage was expected to begin shortly after 1 a.m. on Aug. 29.

Irene Klotz

Irene Klotz is Senior Space Editor for Aviation Week, based in Cape Canaveral. Before joining Aviation Week in 2017, Irene spent 25 years as a wire service reporter covering human and robotic spaceflight, commercial space, astronomy, science and technology for Reuters and United Press International.