The EGS (Exploration Ground Systems) program of NASA and Jacobs, a prime launch support contractor have reportedly planned to complete the first round of pre-launch testing of Artemis 1 before the end of September.
The SLS (Space Launch System) rocket for the lunar orbit mission is assembled on ML-1 (Mobile Launcher-1) in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)’s High Bay 3, where an IMT (Integrated Modal Test) is being executed to collect data on the natural SLS frequencies as well as an Orion center of gravity and mass simulator.
In this first round, engineers are assessing data on two of the three pre-launch test sets. Before the modal test, an IVT (Interface Verification Test) looked at the vehicle performance to ground interfaces, and a URRT (Umbilical Release and Retract Test) checked the ground release system for the rapidly disconnecting Mobile Launcher service arms and umbilicals. After the completion of the IMT, Jacobs and EGS will reconnect the ground umbilicals to SLS and prepare for the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft along with CubeSats to be assembled on top of the rocket in October.
After two months of work mounting the SLS vehicle and connecting all its Mobile Launcher arms and umbilicals, Jacobs and EGS initiated the first round of crucial ITCO (Integrated Test and Checkout) testing in August. As with most of the EGS related operations activities in the VAB up to this point, this was the first time that the services of Mobile Launcher, including data, power, fluids, and environmental controls were connected to the hardware of SLS flights assembled on ML-1.
The IVT was the first of the three tests in the initial testing, which would substantiate that the connections between the rocket and the Mobile Launcher were functioning properly.
Dan Florez, the Lead NASA Test Director for Integrated Testing in EGS, commented that all the elements of SLS - Booster, Core Stage, Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) - were powered as the team went through this initial portion of the IVT. The first interface testing round was executed in early September.