NASA’s Mobile Launch Vehicle begins its journey from the parking lot at the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39B. Photo: NASA. The launch tower, which supports the first three Artemis lunar missions, returned for the first time on Wednesday after more than half a year of repairs and upgrades.
NASA’s 380-foot-tall Mobile Launcher (ML1) 8:27 a.m. EDT (1227 UTC) began moving from its parking location near the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Complex 39B. This is the first time the tower has returned to its location since the launch of the Artemis 1 mission in 2022. in November.
Since that inaugural launch, the structure has been upgraded, including work done to certify the crew access arm and prepare an emergency exit system to help astronauts and support crew quickly escape the vicinity of the rocket. An emergency.
NASA will slowly roll ML1 onto the top of the tracked vehicle and park it outside the gate by the end of Wednesday. It will go up the ramp and stop on Thursday ahead of the continuing test campaign.
Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Ground Systems team will conduct a series of tests, such as a demonstration crew, shutdown crew and rescue teams on launch day.
After sufficient inspections, the ML1 will slide off the pallet and into the VAB to prepare for vehicle loading, which is expected to begin in February. NASA aims that by 2024 the Artemis 2 crewed mission would be launched in November.