Space Launch System Stories September 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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NASA has closed its space center in Mississippi and secured a critical piece of Moon-bound rocket hardware ahead of Hurricane Sally’s impact on the Gulf Coast this week. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is home to the B-2 Test Stand where NASA engineers have been busy testing the rocket core stage for Space Launch System.

Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane (96-110 mph wind speeds) Tuesday night before weakening to a tropical storm on Wednesday. The current trajectory shows Stennis Space Center directly in the storm’s path.

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Space Launch System Stories June 30

NASA is preparing to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program. The program currently includes three Artemis missions including two uncrewed lunar flight tests and one mission to send astronauts to the Moon. Today NASA shared an Artemis program update supporting up to six additional missions under the program.

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Space Launch System Stories May 14

Work on Space Launch System, NASA’s heavy lift rocket designed to return astronauts to the Moon, was chugging along through March before COVID-19 closed down the country.

Starting this week, NASA says Stennis Space Center in Mississippi will start again on the Core Stage for SLS ahead of the Green Run test later this fall.

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Space Launch System Stories March 3

This is the video of NASA’s Steve Jurcyk speaking at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory last week where he shared the 2021 launch target for Artemis I. I’ve transcribed and timestamped the relevant clip.

I do wonder what all processes are required between early fall 2020 to late 2021. The pieces for Space Launch System will be at Kennedy Space Center for almost a year before launching.

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Space Launch System Stories March 2

When will Space Launch System fly? There’s more NASA talk of 2021. Marcia Smith reports for SpacePolicyOnline:

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Space Launch System Stories February 21

It’s too early to mark your calendars and start planning for the Artemis 1 launch yet, but Chris Gebhardt reporting for NASASpaceflight has ruled out this year and the first three months of next year:

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Our footage of the Core Stage of NASA’s Space Launch System on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center gives you an idea of the scale of the tank, and the commentary from Maurie Vander and Barry Robinson is even more insightful.

Vander is Chief of Operations Division of NASA’s Engineering & Test Directorate, and Robinson is the SLS Core Stage Test Project Manager.

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Space Launch System Stories February 19

This giant orange thing is the core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System, a super heavy-lift launch vehicle currently being built and tested, before it takes flight on the Artemis I mission.

A future version of this hardware will be used to take the first woman and next man to the Moon during this decade as part of a long-term strategy to eventually reach Mars.

Before that, NASA will conduct an uncrewed test flight of Space Launch System to send the Orion spacecraft around the Moon. This giant orange rocket is the exact hardware that will be used for Artemis I, formerly called Exploration Mission-1, as early as later this year:

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