NASA begins assembling the Space Launch System. It has a central stage of 65 meters, four engines flanked by two solid-fuel boosters and an aggregate thrust of more than 39 meganewtons. This is the aerospace monster that will take us back to the Moon in 2024 if everything goes according to plan.
- NASA certifies Crew Dragon spacecraft to fly to ISS
- NASA contacts Voyager 2 for the first time since March
- NASA detects luminous phenomena in the atmosphere of Jupiter
But before then, in November 2021 (that is, 10 years after the project was launched) the SLS will make its first maiden flight. The teams at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida have begun assembling the rocket and that’s why we’re here.
The process takes place in the vehicle assembly building at Kennedy. On November 21, they began placing the first of the 10 driving segments. And, as Andrew Shroble, manager of the Jacobs engineering group working on the rocket, said, “The first piece of the RSS rocket on a mobile launcher marks a major milestone for the Artemis program.”
However, not everything is ready to go. Some segments are still being tested at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. In the next few weeks, if all goes well, the last tests will begin and all the pieces will start traveling to Florida.
NASA begins assembling the Space Launch System. And there are many pieces. When assembled, the SLS will be larger than the Statue of Liberty and 15% more powerful than the Saturn V, the rocket that took the US to the moon in the 1960s. There’s still a long way to go, but looking at the pictures… we’re going to enjoy it.