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NASA Contradicts Own Artemis I Launch Timer, to Roll Out SLS in Mid-February

The official countdown timer for the launch of the Artemis I mission shows at the time of writing 31 days, two hours and nine minutes left until the Space Launch System rocket ignites its mammoth engines, placing the Orion capsule on a course to the Moon.
View of the massive Space Launch System 17 photos
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Judging by that, it means the launch is scheduled for February 12, but we all know that’s not going to happen. NASA itself kind of contradicts its own timer by announcing this week the SLS will roll onto the pad in mid-February, and so do various other sources, who say the launch will actually take place in March.

Now, that’s not something to be mad about, as we all know important space missions come to pass only after a long string of launch postponements – take the Webb telescope, which finally departed 14 years after the original launch date.

What’s important is that the Artemis program is inching closer to its official start date, and with it will come a wealth of space exploration wonders, from the Gateway space station being built around the Moon to a permanent base on its surface, and later on, crewed missions to Mars.

As said, NASA announced this week a tentative date for the official rollout of the SLS-Orion combo, and that would be mid-February. It is then when the giant contraption will be moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building at the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the historically important Launch Pad 39B.

The SLS is described as a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle and is presently the only rocket capable of pushing the Orion on a trajectory to the Moon. It’s 322 feet tall (98 meters) and weighs 5.75 million lbs (2.6 million kg, or 2,800 tons).

The rocket is made up of a Boeing core stage powered by four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines, each capable of developing 512,000 pounds of thrust. Backing the core stage are two solid rocket boosters put together by Northrop Grumman, which develop the difference in thrust for a total of 8.8 million pounds.

 
 
 
 
 

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