NASA SLS megarocket was sent to launch pad 39B

The giant NASA Space Launch System (SLS) rocket has begun its first journey into space with a slow movement on earth. The first window for the long-awaited launch will open on August 29. And this time, in the very long history of rocket development, everything is even ahead of schedule. The initial plan called for the launch of the SLS this Thursday. But at the beginning of the week, NASA decided to speed up this schedule.

The lunar launch vehicle Space Launch System, rolling out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center. The rocket will travel 6 km to its launch pad 39B to take off into space on August 29. Image: NASA

The rocket was rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center to launch Pad 39B. The movable platform together with the rocket has a height of 98 meters. The total weight of the structure is 3 million kg. Therefore, the 6.4-kilometer journey will be very slow, at a speed of 1.6 km/h, and the whole journey will take 10-12 hours.

Crawler conveyor (CT-2) used to move the SLS to the launch pad. Photo: The Verge

From 10 years of delays and malfunctions to the stars

SLS is NASA’s next major rocket, designed to send people and cargo into deep space, for example, to the Moon. SLS is more powerful than the rockets that deliver astronauts to the International Space Station. SLS has been developed for more than ten years. During this time, the rocket suffered from numerous delays and malfunctions.

The rocket will launch on August 29, 2022. If the start suddenly fails, it will be postponed to September 5. The successful launch will allow the Artemis I mission to launch, a test flight without a crew designed to test the Orion space capsule around the Moon, which will last from 39 to 42 days. If the Artemis I mission is successful, NASA will make the next flight around our moon with the Artemis II crew in 2024 and a mission with a landing on its surface with the Artemis III crew in about 2025. The project is part of NASA’s program to return people to the Moon and Mars.

Earlier we reported how NASA is preparing to conclude a contract for the purchase of SLS launches.

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time