NASA to conduct Artemis I wet dress rehearsal test on June 20


NASA is set to conduct tests to prepare for the Artemis I mission, which will see the spacecraft travel to the Moon. The tests will take place on June 20 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

During the test, launch teams will rehearse operations to load propellant into the rocket’s tanks and conduct a full launch countdown. The teams will also drain the tanks and practice the timelines and procedures they will use for launch.

The test, also known as a ‘wet dress rehearsal test’ is basically a dry run of the entire process of a rocket launching and leaving the Earth’s orbit, all without the craft actually leaving the launchpad.

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NASA previously reported via a blog post that the Artemis I Rocket has made a return to Launch Pad 39B. The rocket left the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on June 6 for the launch pad for the wet dress rehearsal test.

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Interested users will be able to watch the rehearsal live along with live commentary on the media channel of NASA Television, the NASA app, and NASA website.

What happens during the test?

During the test, which will last for about two days, teams will start by activating the facilities needed for launch and formally beginning the countdown sequence. The Launch Control Center team at Kennedy will then connect with the staff in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston along with the Space Force Eastern Range, and the SLS Engineering Support Center at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Launch controllers will be powered on  and tested, along with different rocket and spacecraft systems and ground support equipment.

“Teams will then load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or super cold, propellants including liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the rocket at the launch pad on the mobile launcher according to the detailed timeline they will use on the actual launch day. They will practice every phase of the countdown, including weather briefings, pre-planned holds in the countdown, conditioning and replenishing the propellants as needed, and validation checks,”
NASA mentioned in a post.

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“During the wet dress rehearsal, once launch controllers reach the point just before the rocket’s RS-25 engines will ignite on launch day, they will recycle back to the T-10 minute point, and then resume the countdown once more after a hold. The team will then deliberately halt the countdown at about 10 seconds before the simulated liftoff to demonstrate stopping a launch and draining the propellants from the rocket. Sometimes called a “scrub,” launch controllers may decide not to proceed with launch if a technical or weather issue arises during or prior to the countdown, so demonstrating the ability to remove propellants will ensure teams are prepared for various launch day scenarios,” the post added.

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