World’s Most Powerful Rocket Heading for the Kennedy Space Center

NASA shipping the SLS core stage to the Kennedy Space STation 5 photos
Photo: NASA
SLS core stage on its way to the Kennedy Space CenterSLS core stage on its way to the Kennedy Space CenterSLS core stage on its way to the Kennedy Space CenterSLS core stage on its way to the Kennedy Space Center
Before long, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will launch towards the Moon carrying the Orion capsule. It will probably happen by the end of the year, when the Artemis I mission will take off with no crew on board heading for Earth’s satellite in a dry run that is supposed to validate all the systems astronauts will need.
An indicator we’re fast approaching the launch date is that NASA began moving the first core stage of the SLS from the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Once there, the core stage will be paired to the rest of the rocket and, of course, the Orion space capsule.

The move began after the piece of hardware ended the series of tests performed as part of the so-called Green Run program.

This particular bit of SLS is 212 feet (65 meters) high and has a diameter of 27.6 feet. With these numbers, it makes for the “tallest flight component ever built by NASA,” according to the space agency.

The four RS-25 engines powering it are extremely potent, and together with the two boosters that will be strapped to the sides of the core stage, will develop over 9.5 million pounds of thrust. The four engines were subjected to their last test not long ago, when they developed 1.6 million pounds of thrust for about eight minutes, the time the rocket needs to escape Earth’s gravity.

Technically, the Artemis I mission is scheduled to take off sometime in November in the hopes of demonstrating the technologies that will eventually put American boots on the Moon once more. That will happen in 2024, or at least that was the plan. Ever since SpaceX was selected to provide the actual lander, chatter about a possible delay began increasing in intensity.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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