Space

NASA Shares Glorious Sunrise Views of Moon Megarocket at the Launchpad

Good morning, Artemis I.

NASA's SLS megarocket and Orion spacecraft are backlit by the rising sun at the launchpad in Florida.
NASA

There's a very, very big moon rocket sunning itself on a launchpad in Florida, and it looks stunning. NASA's uncrewed Artemis I mission is moving into final testing phases before it gets the go ahead to take off and fly around the moon. 

Last week, NASA rolled out the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule to Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center ahead of a key test called the wet dress rehearsal. NASA's Exploration Ground Systems shared a series of gorgeous sunrise portraits from Monday on Twitter this week.

SLS and Orion stand taller than the Statute of Liberty. The sunrise views go from showing Artemis I as a silhouette to highlighting its details as the sky lightens. In one image, you can see the famous NASA "worm" logo on the side of one of the boosters.

A rosy sunrise lightens the sky behind NASA's Artemis I SLS rocket in Florida. Note the NASA "worm" logo in red.

NASA

The Artemis I wet dress rehearsal is planned for early April and will involve loading and unloading propellant and practicing the countdown process as if the rocket were really going to take off. It won't fly, but the NASA teams will be practiced and prepared for the real launch, which could happen as soon as late May.  

The dawn images are just a few of the views we've been treated to since SLS was taken out from the Vehicle Assembly Building, essentially a giant rocket garage. Kennedy Space Center shared a view of the rocket from the air on Thursday that helps put it in perspective with the surrounding landscape.

Artemis I will be key to proving the SLS megarocket and Orion spacecraft work as expected prior to the Artemis II mission, which will have humans on board. The photo ops right now are impressive, but they're just a prelude to what'll be an eye-popping launch when the powerful SLS finally heads to space.