HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — People from all over the world are sharing in the excitement of the upcoming Artemis I Mission launch.
The Mission will get started with the rollout on the evening of Tuesday, August 16th. NASA said the rollout will get started around 8:00 p.m. Central Time.
The rollout is the process of moving the Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket and Orion Spacecraft from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39 B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The mission would not be possible if not for the work of people at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama.
News 19 spoke with engineers on the SLS program, and MSFC officials on Friday.
At that time, the rollout was still scheduled for August 18. However, Deputy Manager of the Space Launch System Program, Chris Cianciola said they were “ahead of track.”
So, it’s no surprise the rollout was moved up to the 16th.
Cianciola said they would be monitoring the weather when it comes to the rollout and the launch itself.
“It’s not a matter of technical progress on the rocket, but now we’re looking at weather,” Cianciola said.
Cianciola is one of the hundreds of people at the Marshall Space Flight Center who have been a part of the Space Launch System and the Artemis I mission.
Cianciola said a lot of work has gotten the SLS rocket to where it is now.
“Oh the team is excited,” Cianciola said. “I mean there’s just a tremendous amount of work to get here and it’s almost like wow, we did make it.”
The rollout tonight won’t be the first time the SLS rocket has made its way from the Vehicle Assembly Building and to the launch pad. In June, NASA conducted a Wet Dress Rehearsal in which they run everything as a trial run all the way up to the countdown.
This time though, it is the real deal.
SLS Chief Engineer, John Blevins, is tasked with making sure all the hardware is ready to go.
“This particular set of hardware has done that green run down at Kennedy Space Center, as you know, but I have no concerns, about the hardware doing its job. It’s looking really good,” Blevins said.
His counterpart, David Beaman is tasked with the software on the rocket.
“The software is really the brains of the vehicle,” said Beaman, the Manager of System Engineering & Integration.
Beaman said they have run many tests and have data models that help them predict every part of the launch.
“You know, you don’t want any surprises,” Beaman said. “So we have predicted where we’re going to be, we have a real good understanding of how the vehicle is going to respond because we’ve done other tests and then we’ll be analyzing the data as it comes in so when it comes time, we can commit our part of the mission.”
Beaman said safety is top priority throughout the mission.
“I tell people all the time, it’s not important what day we launch. It’s about safety and success,” Beaman said. “We’re going to launch when we’re ready.”
While the rollout is projected to start around 8:00 p.m. Central Time, it will take several hours.
The SLS Rocket will travel about four miles, moving extremely slowly.
As of now, the projected launch date for the Artemis I mission is August 29, 2022.
The Artemis I mission will be un-crewed, but there will be several high-tech test dummies on board. That will pave the way for future missions where the first woman and person of color will land on the moon.