NASA’s Moon Program Portable Launcher Returns to Launch Pad for Testing – Spaceflight Now

NASA’s Mobile Launcher begins its journey from the park site near the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39B. Image: NASA.

The launch tower supporting the first of three Artemis lunar missions was back in motion for the first time on Wednesday after more than half a year of repairs and upgrades.

NASA’s 380-foot manportable launcher (ML1) began making its way from its parking lot near the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at 8:27 a.m. EDT (1227 UTC) toward Launch Complex 39B. This is the first time the tower has returned to the platform since the launch of the Artemis 1 mission in November 2022.

Since that inaugural launch, the structure has undergone a series of improvements, including work done to certify the crew access arm and set up an emergency exit system, which helps astronauts and support crew quickly escape from the proximity of the rocket in the event of an emergency.

NASA will slowly roll ML1 to the plate on top of the crawler transport vehicle and park the vehicle outside the gate by the end of Wednesday. He’ll work his way up the slope and become consistent on Thursday before his ongoing time trial campaign.

Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Ground Systems team will undergo a series of tests, such as launch day demonstrations for crew, shutdown crew, and salvage teams.

After enough registrations, ML1 will move away from the board to the VAB to prepare for vehicle stacking, which is scheduled to begin in February. NASA aims to launch the crewed Artemis 2 mission in November 2024.

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