Artemis Stories November 24

NASA begins booster stacking of SLS rocket in preparation for Artemis I

This afternoon, NASA announced that it had made progress in the preparation necessary for the upcoming Artemis I launch. More specifically, the first piece of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket has finally been stacked on the mobile launcher.

Artemis Stories November 23

NASA recently submitted a permit detailing facility construction and modification plans to support its next Mobile Launch Platform for Space Launch System, the agency’s nearly complete rocket to the Moon. We first have to go back to where SLS all started with the Constellation program to understand why NASA is building a new Mobile Launch Platform.

The current Mobile Launcher, ML-1, was initially built for the Constellation program between 2009 and 2010. When the Constellation program was canned in October 2010, NASA started reworking ML-1 to support their new program for the Space Launch System. With the increased complexity and weight of SLS, issues quickly began to arise.

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Artemis Stories November 20

We’ve seen much of the journey to NASA’s first Artemis mission take place at Stennis Space Center and Michoud Assembly Facility in Mississippi and Louisiana, respectively. This week we get to see the first piece of SLS hardware begin stacking at Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the big launch around the Moon next year.

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Artemis Stories November 18

NASA announced today that it has successfully repaired a valve inside the propulsion system of the SLS Core Stage. Having repaired it, teams at NASA’s Stennis Space Center can move on with further tests.

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The Office of Inspector General has published a 52-page report that lays out seven critical challenges pressing NASA in 2020. From cybersecurity risks to outdated infrastructure, the OIG report describes top management and performance opportunities. Also included is a four-page response from the current NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

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Artemis Stories November 17

On the heels of a successful arrival and docking of SpaceX’s Crew 1 mission to the International Space Station, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and associate administrator of the Human Exploration Mission Directorate Kathy Lueders spoke at the ASCEND industry conference about what they think the future of low-Earth orbit, the Moon, and Mars will be like.

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Artemis Stories November 9

The former Google Lunar XPrize participant iSpace announced today that they will be opening new offices in the US. The new offices will be located in Denver, an already booming aerospace hub. The goal is for iSpace’s new offices to house a full engineering team to support NASA’s Artemis program through their Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.

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Artemis Stories November 5

NASA’s Orion spacecraft will soon complete years of development and be used on the first Artemis mission around the Moon. Orion will lift off with NASA’s Space Launch System rocket as soon as next year for an uncrewed lunar flyby mission that certifies SLS and Orion for future astronaut flights to the lunar surface. The space agency has shared a new close-up video look at the first Orion spacecraft as the production process accelerates in time for NASA’s Artemis I mission set for later next year.

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Artemis Stories October 20

NASA is returning astronauts to the Moon for the first time since the final Apollo mission took flight in 1972. The new Artemis program currently includes three missions starting with an uncrewed lunar flyby mission to test the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft as soon as next year. The second Artemis spaceflight mission will introduce astronauts, and the third mission will make history as the first woman steps foot on the Moon.

Each Space Launch System rocket will lift off from Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Today NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems team practiced moving the mobile launcher, a 380-foot-tall structure, to the launch pad where EGS will “complete a thorough top-to-bottom washdown, removing any FOD, or foreign object debris, as an added safety measure in addition to the walk downs performed prior to launch.”

Space Explored photographer Jared Base attended NASA’s sunrise mobile launcher rollout today and captured up-close shots and video of the 10.5 million pound structure traveling from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39B.

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Artemis Stories October 13

October 5: Six of eight steps have been completed. NASA plans to conduct the final step, an 8-minute long hot fire test, in November.

October 13: Boeing is tentatively planning the hot fire test for November 14.


Just north of Interstate I-10 along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is a gigantic, orange core stage that will soon be used to send NASA’s most powerful rocket ever to the Moon. The 212-foot-tall core stage of Space Launch System, the vehicle for Artemis lunar missions starting next year, is currently hoisted up on the red, white, and meatball’d B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center.

Engineers at the space center in south Mississippi are responsible for ensuring that the giant fuel tank and RS-25 engines are ready for action before being transferred to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Steps range from testing flight electronics to loading and draining 350 tons of rocket fuel.

The ultimate step in the Green Run test is to fire up the four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines fueled by the core stage. The static fire test will occur for up to eight minutes, creating a thunderous roar as the SLS core stage is held down by the B-2 Test Stand. Make no mistake: This engine test fire will be epic.

So how far along is NASA’s Green Run test for the Space Launch System core stage? Follow along here as NASA completes each step of the Green Run test:

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