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Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.

Stacking of the Artemis I SLS rocket continues

Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs completed another important milestone ahead of the first Artemis launch later this year, by stacking the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) atop the SLS launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) and core stage. Stacking occurred on Monday, July 5, 2021, after the second stage had been transfered from the Multi-Payload Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on June 19.

The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage is being stacked atop the Artemis I SLS rocket. Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.
The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage is being stacked atop the Artemis I SLS rocket. Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.

The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion stage will serve as the second stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) super heavy-lift launch vehicle. The stage is expected to push an uncrewed Orion spacecraft and its service module away from Earth and toward the Moon later this year.

The ICPS seen during final checks ahead of stacking. Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.
The ICPS seen during final checks ahead of stacking. Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.

After multiple test of all the current components of the SLS, the Orion stage adapter will be installed atop the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage. This will be followed by the stacking of the pre-assembled Orion spacecraft, its service module and the launch escape tower. Several tests and simulations later, the giant rocket will be rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building and to Launch Complex 39B, from where the launch vehicle will blast off toward the Moon no earlier than November 2021.

The Artemis I mission will be the first flight of NASA’s Artemis program and the maiden flight of the SLS. During the mission, an uncrewed Orion capsule will be launched to the Moon, where it will enter into a retrograde 70,000 km high orbit. About a week later, the spacecraft will depart the Moon and return back to Earth for a controlled re-entry and a soft splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja, California. The flight will be performed to verify that all components of the Space Launch System and the Orion will work as expected during the future crewed missions to Earth’s natural satellite, which will begin with Artemis II. The first crewed landing on the lunar surface during the Artemis program is expected to occur during Artemis III no earlier than 2024. The goal of the program is to land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, as well as establishing a long-lasting presence on and around the celestial body.


Sources:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/kennedy/2021/07/07/artemis-i-rocket-grows-closer-to-launch/

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/interim-cryogenic-propulsion-stage-infographic-for-sls.html

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/moon-rocket-comes-together-for-artemis-infographic.html

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/moon-rocket-comes-together-for-artemis-infographic.html

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/around-the-moon-with-nasa-s-first-launch-of-sls-with-orion

https://www.nasa.gov/what-is-artemis

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