The four Artemis II astronauts who will embark on a flyby of the moon in November next year successfully conducted a pre-launch practice run on Wednesday.
In line with launch day procedures, NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Victor Glover, and Reid Wiseman, along with Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen, started the day by waking up inside the crew quarters at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Next, they climbed into test versions of the Orion crew survival system spacesuits that they’ll wear on the big day. NASA’s new Artemis crew transportation fleet then drove them to Launch Pad 39B, with Wiseman and Glover traveling in the front vehicle and Koch and Hansen following behind in another.
After reaching the launchpad, the crew made their way to the mobile launcher and proceeded up the tower to the white room inside the crew access arm. On launch day, the astronauts will then enter the Orion spacecraft.
“When we walked out that crew access arm, I just had images of all those Apollo launches and shuttle launches that I saw as a kid and it was unreal,” Glover said. “I actually had to stop and just stay in the moment to really let it all sink in.”
NASA said that Wednesday’s test ensures that the crew and the ground systems teams at Kennedy are well prepared for launch day in just over a year’s time.
The 10-day Artemis II mission will use NASA’s recently tested Space Launch System rocket to send the Orion spacecraft on the first crewed lunar visit in five decades. Following the path of the uncrewed Artemis I test flight that took place last year, the Orion spacecraft will fly past the moon, coming within just 80 miles of its surface.
Artemis II is designed to confirm the safety and reliability of the Orion spacecraft for crewed missions. Following that, NASA aims to use the flight system, together with a SpaceX lander, to put the first astronauts on the moon since 1972 in the Artemis III mission, which is currently scheduled for 2025.
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