Title: NASA’s Repaired Mobile Launch Platform Returns to Kennedy Space Center for Artemis Missions
NASA’s mobile launch platform, which underwent refurbishment after the Artemis I mission last year, has now returned to its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center. The platform’s repair and upgrade were necessary due to unexpected damage sustained during the first launch of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket in November.
Over the past few months, the launch tower has undergone extensive repairs and modifications. Now, with the work largely complete, the platform will enter a rigorous four-month testing phase. The aim is to ensure its readiness for the stacking of the SLS Moon rocket for the upcoming Artemis II mission.
NASA intends to utilize this $1 billion launch platform for its first three Artemis missions. Artemis II, specifically, will carry four astronauts on a journey around the far side of the Moon. The crew members will be safely housed inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft for the approximately 10-day flight.
This pivotal Artemis II test flight will set the stage for even more ambitious missions, including lunar landings by humans and the construction of a mini-space station named Gateway in lunar orbit. However, preparations for Artemis II have faced slight delays, with its potential launch date now set for 2025, instead of the initial target of November 2024.
In light of the Orion spacecraft’s delays, NASA is actively seeking efficiencies in the launch campaign. The Orion capsule, which will carry the crew during Artemis II, will feature state-of-the-art enhancements such as new life-support systems, cockpit displays, and controls, which were not present during the previous Artemis I mission.
Looking ahead, the timeline for the next year will mainly revolve around testing and necessary preparations for the upcoming Artemis II mission. NASA remains committed to its Artemis program, steadfastly working towards returning humans to the Moon and paving the way for further exploration and scientific advancements in lunar orbit.