NASA Artemis II astronauts Reid Wiseman and Christina Koch of NASA and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) astronaut Jeremy Hansen view the center stage of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket at the agency’s Michoud assembly facility in New Orleans on November 16. The three astronauts, along with NASA’s Victor Glover, will launch onto the rocket stage to venture around the Moon in Artemis IIthe first manned flight of Artemis.
The SLS core stage, which rises to 212 feet, is the backbone of the lunar rocket and includes two massive propellant tanks that together hold 733,000 gallons of propellant to help power the stage’s four RS-25 engines. NASA, Boeing, the prime contractor for the main stage, along with Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Technologies company and the prime contractor for the RS-25 engines, are in the midst of conducting final integrated testing on the rocket stage. completely assembled. At launch and during ascent to space, Artemis astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft will feel the power of the rocket’s four RS-25 engines that produce more than 2 million pounds of thrust for a full eight minutes. The megarocket’s twin solid boosters, which flank each side of the core stage, will each add an additional 3.6 million pounds of thrust for two minutes.
The astronauts’ visit to Michoud coincided with the first anniversary of the launch of Artemis I. The uncrewed flight test of SLS and Orion was the first in a series of increasingly complex missions for Artemis as the agency works to return the astronauts. humans to the lunar surface and develop a long-term presence there for discovery and exploration.
NASA is working to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis. SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway orbiting the Moon, and commercial human landing systems. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon in a single mission.
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