NASA's SLS beast completed, loaded for Transport


The first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage for NASA’s Artemis program finished the major build work at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. It was loaded onto the agency’s Pegasus barge on Jan. 8 for delivery to Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The core stage for the SLS rocket was rolled out for Pegasus, in preparation for the Green Run test series, the final test campaign ahead of the agency’s first Artemis launch.

Crux of the Matter
  • Pegasus was modified to ferry SLS rocket hardware from Michoud to Stennis. This was for the core stage Green Run test series, that is a comprehensive test campaign of the stage.
  • NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard believes the Artemis program to be a national asset and says the SLS rocket was built to deliver American astronauts and maximum payloads to the Moon and deep space destinations.
  • The core stage, which will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help power the first Artemis mission to the Moon, will be shipped to NASA’s Stennis Space Center.
  • The SLS rocket’s core stage is the largest stage NASA has ever built at its Louisiana factory including the Saturn V rocket stages for the agency’s first Moon missions.
  • With a design featuring some of the most sophisticated hardware ever built for spaceflight, the core stage is the powerhouse of the SLS rocket.
  • NASA is now working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. SLS, along with Orion and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, is NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. It is currently the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon on a single mission.

SLS or The Space Launch System is a US super heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle, which has been under development since its announcement in 2011. It is the primary launch vehicle of NASA’s deep space exploration plans, including the planned crewed lunar flights of the Artemis program and a possible follow-on human mission to Mars. SLS replaces the Constellation program’s Ares V launch vehicle of 2005, which never left the development phase. The initial variant of SLS, Block 1, was required by the US Congress to lift a payload of 70 metric tons (150,000 lb)to low Earth orbit (LEO) but exceeded that requirement with a rated payload capacity of 95 metric tons (209,000 lb). As of December 22, 2019, this variant is planned to launch Artemis 1, 2, and 3. NASA plans to add an autonomous flight termination system to the SLS in-time for the flight of Artemis 3. The later Block 1B is intended to debut the Exploration Upper Stage and launch the notional Artemis 4 through Artemis 7. More Info