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NASA's Mobile Launcher arrives at LC39B

Photo: Ryan Bale

Big things are on the move at Kennedy Space Center...literally. Actually, only one “big thing” that weighs 10.5 million pounds and stands a total of 380 feet off the ground (according to NASA).

NASA’s Mobile Launcher 1 (ML-1) was rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building on a ten hour (and yet only four mile long) journey to Launch Complex 39-B. Here it will prepare for the launch of the SLS rocket and Orion capsule during Artemis-1 mission, which will be the first test of the rocket’s capabilities to perform deep space missions.

Photo: Ryan Bale

ML-1 holds all of the ground support equipment and connection lines (also known as umbilicals) necessary for the launch of SLS and Orion. This provides the launch pad with the communications, power, fuel, and coolant that is needed during the launch.

One of these accessories is called the Crew Access Arm (CAA), which is 274 feet above the ground. This is will be used as a safe entry and exit for crew members to complete processing and launch operations at 39-B prior to launch. It will also be used as a pathway for personnel during emergency situations, as well as an entryway and exit for astronauts when NASA starts to launch manned missions.

This is a big step for NASA to start sending humans back into space from the US again. The Artemis-1 mission is targetting a launch of mid-2021.

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