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NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Make Progress as SLS/Orion Launch Slips

22 May 2020, 19:01 UTC
NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Make Progress as SLS/Orion Launch Slips
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A liquid hydrogen storage tank is photographed at Launch Pad 39B on Nov. 8, 2019, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

by Douglas MessierManaging Editor

The Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) required for NASA’s Artemis moon program are making progress as the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft continues to slip into the future.

“According to officials, most of the infrastructure needed for the Artemis I is nearing operational readiness. Currently, the program plans to finish the system acceptance and operational readiness reviews for vehicle stacking in September 2020,” according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

That readiness date will be at least one year before the Artemis I launch that will send an automated Orion spacecraft around the moon. NASA recently pushed back the date for the flight from the space agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to late 2021.

Credit: GAO

The delay could result in additional cost overruns for the EGS program. Officials told GAO they could support an earlier March 2021 launch date without exceeding current budget outlays.

The EGS program is making progress on the required software. It is also trying to solve ...

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