The first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage for NASA’s Artemis program has finally arrived. The rocket core stage completed manufacturing work at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
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Green Run tests
It has now been loaded onto the agency’s Pegasus barge for delivery to NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi where it will undergo testing. “NASA’s Space Launch System core stage is part of the Artemis program, which is a national asset,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard.
“The SLS rocket was built to deliver American astronauts and maximum payloads to the Moon and deep space destinations. Rolling out the completed core stage from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility to go on to NASA’s Stennis Space Center for further testing is an exciting leap forward in the Artemis program as NASA teams make progress toward the launch pad.”
Once at Stennis, the core stage will undergo the Green Run test campaign that will begin later this year. The Green Run series is a comprehensive test campaign that evaluates everything from the core stage's avionics and propulsion systems to its four RS-25 engines.
“Completion of this first-time build of the Space Launch System rocket’s core stages puts humans on the cusp of a new era of space exploration,” said John Honeycutt, the SLS Program Manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“NASA’s SLS rocket is designed to evolve so a variety of missions can be accomplished first to the Moon for the Artemis missions and then to Mars and other deep space destinations.”
The SLS rocket’s core stage is the largest stage NASA has ever built at its Louisiana factory. It features some of the most sophisticated hardware ever built for spaceflight. It also boasts two propellant tanks that hold a combined 733,000 gallons of propellant to power the four RS-25 engines.