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Jacobs and NASA Achieve Major Artemis I Milestone, Orion Spacecraft Ready for Launch Processing

Orion spacecraft module is turned over to Exploration Ground Systems team at Kennedy Space Center for launch processing, paving the way to send humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Orion in transit from the Neal Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building to the Multi-Purpose Processing Facility. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Jacobs and NASA recently achieved a major milestone at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) when the Exploration Ground Systems team took possession of the Orion spacecraft on January 16. The team is now preparing Orion for fueling and final processing, prior to integration with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for the Artemis I launch. That mission will be the first in NASA’s endeavor to send humans back to the Moon, to Mars and beyond.

Orion rolling into the high bay at the Multi-Purpose Processing Facility where the Jacobs team will prepare the spacecraft for fueling and final processing for Artemis I launch. Photo credit: NASA
Orion rolling into the high bay at the Multi-Purpose Processing Facility where the Jacobs team will prepare the spacecraft for fueling and final processing for Artemis I launch. Photo credit: NASA

The Artemis Program involves a series of increasingly complex missions that will extend the frontiers of human deep space exploration. During the uncrewed Artemis I test flight, the spacecraft will travel 1.3 million miles, going beyond the Moon and back to Earth over the course of 26-42 days. 

“The processing of Artemis I flight hardware is well underway at KSC, and the team is excited to be on the path to the launch at the end of this year,” says Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions Senior Vice President Steve Arnette. “We have already started stacking the booster rockets in the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Now we are preparing Orion for launch, and we expect to receive the SLS core Stage rocket soon.”

As the Artemis prime contractor at KSC for Exploration Ground Systems, Jacobs handles final checkout and integration of all flight hardware for Artemis I. The Jacobs team received Orion from Lockheed Martin following assembly of the crew capsule and service module in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at KSC. Orion is now located in the Multi- Purpose Processing Facility (MPPF), where complex ground servicing operations will be performed on service module and crew module systems that will be used during on-orbit mission operations. These systems include reaction control and orbital maneuvering propulsion systems, avionics cooling systems and crew module interior environmental systems.

In addition, the Jacobs team will perform avionics testing, mission payload fit checks, developmental flight instrumentation sensor installations, thermal protection installations, and application of NASA and ESA logos. From the MPPF, Orion will move to the Launch Abort Servicing Facility, where Jacobs will stack the Launch Abort System on top of the crew module. Then, it will be transported to the VAB for stacking on the SLS core stage.

Orion lift to transporter inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Orion lift to transporter inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

As NASA’s largest services contractor, Jacobs is a provider and integrator of full lifecycle aerospace capability including design and construction; base, mission and launch operations; sustaining capital maintenance; and secure and intelligent asset management, development, modification, and testing processes for fixed assets supporting national government, military, defense and NASA, as well as commercial space companies.

For more on how Jacobs is redefining what’s possible, from launch to flight to splash down, visit www.jacobs.com/insights/space-exploration.

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