NASA: The first image of the megacohete that will take humans to the Moon this decade

 

On Friday, engineers at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida finished assembling what will be NASA's most powerful and largest rocket to date: the Space Launch System (SLS). With 65 meters of height and weight of (nothing more and nothing less than) 85 tons, it will be in charge of taking, in combination with the Orion spacecraft, the next generation of astronauts to the Moon.

Engineers with Exploration Ground Systems and @JacobsConnects lifted the @NASA_SLS rocket core stage for the @NASAArtemis I mission in the Vehicle Assembly Building at @NASAKennedy. Check out this timelapse from operations. pic.twitter.com/Vnv6GnJ7VX

— NASA's Exploration Ground Systems (@NASAGroundSys) June 11, 2021

It is essentially composed of a huge fuel tank with four engines and two 54-meter-high thrusters, the latter being the ones that will provide most of the force needed to lift the rocket in the first two minutes of flight.

NASA plans to launch it on its maiden flight later this year as part of the Artemis-1mission; a first unmanned voyage that seeks to test both the rocket and the spacecraft in a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon before being used to transport humans in 2023 (including a woman who will first step on the Earth's satellite).

If all goes as expected, the Artemis-2 mission scheduled for 2022 will continue to test SLS and Orion functionality but with humans on board and, this time, in low-Earth orbit.

Finally, Artemis-3, scheduled for October 2024, is scheduled to be the second manned mission of the Artemis program and the first manned lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972.

 

 


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