Friday, January 14, 2022

SLS progress updated

Casting Artemis 4 booster in Utah. NASA photo
NASA on Tuesday provided an update on the rockets that will carry NASA astronauts to the moon in a few years. NASA officials wrote that the agency and manufacturing partners have made "great progress" on putting together the Space Launch System (SLS) for Artemis 2, a crewed moon-orbiting mission targeted to lift off in 2024. Testing and manufacturing of SLS parts is also underway for the moon-landing Artemis 3 mission, expected no earlier than 2025, and its successor Artemis 4. In July, the Artemis 2 SLS's interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) arrived in Florida, near its launch site at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The ICPS is now finishing final preparations at facilities of United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Boeing for delivery to KSC. The ICPS for the Artemis 3 SLS is under construction at ULA's factory in Decatur, Ala. The boosters and RS-25 engines for both the Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 rockets are in the final stages of assembly, NASA officials said. The Artemis 2 engines are ready for integration with the SLS core stage at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, while the Artemis 3 engines are under preparation at an Aeroject Rocketdyne facility at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss. Also, technicians with Northrop Grumman have completed casting booster motor segments for Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 in Utah and are starting to work on the segments for Artemis 4, NASA officials said. NASA also pointed to progress on elements such as the cone-shaped launch vehicle stage adapters for Artemis 2 and 3, along with panel manufacturing for a universal stage adapter test article for future missions. (Source: NASA, 01/11/22)