mobile launcher Stories Today

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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mobile launcher 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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