The SLS rocket rolled out to the launchpad for the first time under the full moon. The journey began at the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, with the massive stack of the mega rocket arriving at Launch Pad 39B in preparation for a series of final checkouts before its Artemis I test flight.

The four-mile trip from the launch site to the pad took 10 hours and 28 minutes, and the 3.5 million-pound rocket arrived at the pad at 1:45 a.m. on March 18.

Artemis on the move. Credit: Alan Walters for Universe Today.

The upcoming final test, known as the wet dress rehearsal, will run the Artemis I launch team through operations to load propellant into the rocket's tanks, conduct a full launch countdown, demonstrate the ability to recycle the clock, and also drain the tanks to practice the timelines and

The Moon is seen rising behind NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard atop a mobile launcher as it rolls out to Launch Complex 39B for the first time, Thursday, March 17, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani).

The rolling out of the Vehicle Assembly Building is an important milestone for NASA, according to Tom Whitmeyer, NASA's deputy associate administrator for Common Exploration Systems Development.

Artemis on the move. Credit: Alan Walters for Universe Today.

After the tests at the launchpad, SLS will be rolled back to the VAB for final tune-ups before the first launch of Artemis.

Then ?? Now

On the left, you’ll see the Saturn V rocket for the Apollo 14 mission leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building. On the right, you’ll find the #Artemis I Moon rocket leaving the same iconic building for its journey to Launch Complex 39B: