NASA demonstrates megarocket development progress on elements such as cone-shaped launch vehicle adapters for Artemis 2 and 3. Including the manufacture of panels for universal stage adapter tests for future missions.
Artemis is NASA’s manned lunar exploration program. The Artemis mission was originally targeted for launch in 2024. For the Artemis 3 mission, NASA plans to land astronauts on the Moon’s surface sometime in 2025. (Read also; NASA Arms F-15 Fighter Aircraft with Modified AIM-54 Phoenix Hypersonic Missile )
“The team not only built one space launch system rocket, but built several rockets for future SLS exploration and flight missions, beyond the initial Artemis launch,” said John Honeycutt, SLS Program Manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, quoted by SINDOnews from the space.com page, Thursday (13/1/2022).
“Mission Artemis 1 is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will expand our presence on the moon,” Honeycutt added. “The unprecedented power and capability of the SLS rocket will send missions further and faster throughout the solar system.”
In July, the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) for the Artemis 2 SLS was the first to arrive in Florida, near its launch site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC). ICPS is now completing final preparations at its United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Boeing facilities for delivery to KSC.
Meanwhile the ICPS for the Artemis 3 SLS is under construction at the ULA plant in Decatur, Alabama. The probe will be used to propel the Orion crew capsule to the moon. “RS-25 boosters and engines for the Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 rockets are in the final stages of assembly,” NASA officials said.
The Artemis 2 engine is ready to be integrated with the SLS core stage at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The Artemis 3 engine is currently in preparation at the Aeroject Rocketdyne facility at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. (Read also; NASA Predicts Something Will Swallow Earth )
Construction of the RS-25 on missions beyond Artemis 4 is underway. Aerojet Rocketdyne is the main contractor for the RS-25. Aerospace company Northrop Grumman has also completed casting the motor booster segment for the Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 in Utah and has begun work on the segment for the Artemis 4.