NASA said it is ready for a real test of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule after multiple dry-runs. Of course, the tests were not perfect, but NASA said it is ready for the next phase. The latest test was on June 20th. Following that, Tom Whitmeyer, deputy associate administrator for common exploration systems at NASA Headquarters, stated:
During the wet dress rehearsal activities, we have incrementally added to our knowledge about how the rocket and the ground systems work together, and our teams have become proficient in launch procedures across multiple sites. We have completed the rehearsal phase, and everything we’ve learned will help improve our ability to lift off during the target launch window…The team is now ready to take the next step and prepare for launch.
The uncrewed launch itself could be as early as late August. Under this phase of the project, called Artemis 1, the rocket, capsule, and ground control will get a rigorous test. As NASA explains:
During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. It will travel 280,000 miles from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a four to six-week mission. Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
NASA has come a long way to get this this step. The various problems along the way is why you have such tests. And now the first phase is about ready. Fingers crossed…