NASA's Artemis II boosters arrive. Key milestone in moon mission

26.09.2023 posted by Admin

NASA's Artemis II. Arrival and preparation of SLS rocket boosters

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has recently received the 10 booster motor segments for NASA's SLS rocket, which will play a crucial role in propelling the Artemis II mission around the Moon. These segments will combine to form the twin, five-segment solid rocket boosters of the SLS rocket, responsible for generating over 75% of the thrust during liftoff for NASA's Artemis lunar missions.

To transport these heavyweight booster motor segments, they embarked on a rail journey spanning eight states using specialized transporters, ultimately reaching the Kennedy Space Center. NASA's Exploration Ground Systems Program is now gearing up to process each of these segments within the Rotation, Processing, and Surge Facility at the space center, getting them ready for integration into the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Amit Kshatriya, Deputy Associate Administrator for the Moon to Mars Program Office at NASA Headquarters, emphasized the significance of this milestone, stating, "The arrival of the SLS solid rocket booster motor segments is an important turning point as NASA and our Artemis partners begin readying for stacking and launch preparations for Artemis II. Fully stacked, these boosters for NASA’s SLS rocket are the largest, most powerful ever built for spaceflight and will help send the first astronauts around the Moon in more than 50 years."

Northrop Grumman, the lead contractor for SLS boosters, manufactured these solid rocket boosters in Utah. They consist of three major assemblies, with the motor segment being the largest part of the booster. Teams will conduct inspections on these segments, as well as the forward and aft skirt assemblies, before orienting them vertically in preparation for stacking during the Artemis II mission. The top and bottom sections of the boosters were previously assembled at Kennedy's Booster Fabrication Facility.

Upon completing the processing, the major segments will be moved individually to the Vehicle Assembly Building, where they will be stacked to form the 17-story-tall boosters flanking each side of the rocket. Once this process is finished, engineers and technicians will integrate the rocket's core stage. Together, the SLS rocket's twin boosters and the core stage's four RS-25 engines will generate an impressive thrust of more than 8.8 million pounds.

Artemis II marks the first crewed mission of the Artemis program, designed to test all systems of the Orion spacecraft. NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Koch, along with Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen, will be on board for this mission, paving the way for future lunar exploration missions.
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