NASA's mega Moon rocket begins rollout en route to launch pad tests

Mega Moon Rocket: For the first time, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) rolled out the integrated Space Launch System (SLS) and spacecraft of Artemis-1 moon mission on 17th March 2022.

Key Highlights:

The rocket and spacecraft for NASA's Artemis I mission were kept at the Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and it is on the way to Launch Complex 39B for a wet dress rehearsal test.

The integrated SLS and Orion system atop it is being rolled out on a 6.6-million-pound crawler-transporter.

Key Points:

  • Once the SLS and Orio ship is secured at the pad, engineers will prepare for a critical wet dress rehearsal test that includes loading all the propellants.
  • It will begin on April 3, 2022.
  • Artemis 1 is currently scheduled to launch no earlier than late May 2022.
  • SLS and Orion, along with the commercial human landing system and the Gateway that will orbit the Moon, are NASA's backbone for deep space exploration.

About Artemis Program:

  • The Artemis program is a United States-led international human spaceflight program.
  • Its primary goal is to return humans to the Moon, specifically the lunar south pole, by 2025.
  • If successful, it will include the first crewed lunar landing mission since Apollo 17 in 1972, the last lunar flight of the Apollo program.
  • The Artemis program began in December 2017 as the reorganization and continuation of successive efforts to revitalize the U.S. space program since 2009.


  • If the Artemis plan successfully continues, then in 2024, the Artemis 2 mission will follow sending astronauts around the moon and back.
  • Artemis mission 3 will put astronauts down on the moon, near the Lunar South Pole with the aid of SpaceX's Starship vehicle and is targeted for the year 2025 or 2026.
  • The Artemis missions (named after the twin sisters of Apolo in Greek Mythology), NASA will land the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon and establish long-term exploration in preparation for missions to Mars.
  • Long-term objectives are laying the foundations for the extraction of lunar resources, and eventually, making crewed missions to Mars and beyond feasible.