Orion spacecraft moved to Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking

The Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft has been moved to the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building for mating with its SLS launch vehicle.
Image credit: NASA

The Orion spacecraft that will be used for NASA’s Artemis 1 Moon mission has been moved into the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to be stacked atop its SLS launch vehicle.

Artemis 1 is an uncrewed test flight of the crew capsule and launch vehicle that will return human beings to the Moon for the first time since the end of the Apollo program in 1972.

Standing at just over 20 meters tall, the Orion spacecraft stack includes the Airbus-built European Service Module (ESM), the Lockheed Martin-built Orion spacecraft, and the launch abort tower, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin and incorporates rocket motors from Northrop Grumman and Aerojet Rocketdyne.

The Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft stacked with its ESM was moved from the Kennedy Space Center’s Multi-Payload Processing Facility to the Launch Abort System Facility on July 10 to be fitted with its launch abort tower.

On October 19, the completed stack transversed the 10-kilometer distance from the Launch Abort System Facility to the VAB. The journey took approximately 4 hours at an average speed of around 4.8 kilometers per hour.

Now just meters away from its SLS launch vehicle, the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft is expected to be stacked within the next few days.

The Artemis 1 mission is slated to be launched in the first quarter of 2022. Once the spacecraft is deployed, it will begin a 25-day journey to the Moon and back.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.