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Rockets and Spacecraft That Will Take Humans to the Moon Travel by Train

Three years from now, provided the world doesn’t end by means of a pandemic or some other man-made disaster, humans will be landing once again on the Moon. They’ll do so as part of the Artemis exploration program that has pulled NASA out of the dark cone it sank into over the past decade.
Train carrying Artemis Moon mission components 5 photos
Artemis Moon mission hardwareArtemis Moon mission hardwareArtemis Moon mission hardwareArtemis Moon mission hardware
The rocket that would carry the astronauts to the Moon, including for the first time ever a woman, is called Space Launch System (SLS). On top of it there will be the Orion spacecraft, specifically built to help mankind reach for the stars once more.

This week, SLS’ rocket booster segments (10 of them) and the Orion spacecraft reached the Kennedy Space Center in Florida “for launch preparations.” They did so by train, having been shipped from Promontory, Utah on a 10-day, 2,800 mile trip (4,500 km).

“It’s an exciting time at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as we welcome Artemis flight hardware and continue working toward the Artemis I launch,” said Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana.

According to NASA, the boosters that will power the SLS are “the largest, most powerful solid propellant boosters ever built for flight.” The two boosters, accompanied by four RS-25 engines and the core stage have a combined output of 8.8 million pounds of thrust during launch, about the same power 160,000 Corvette engines would spit out if they were combined in some way to work in unison. And the astronauts need every ounce of that power, as each of the booster segments alone weigh 180 tons.

Now that these parts of the hardware are on location, the only things left to be delivered are the launch vehicle stage adapter, used to tie the SLS to the Orion, and the core stage itself.

According to the latest plans, the first test launch of the SLS is scheduled for sometime next year.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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