Space Launch System 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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Space Launch System 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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Space Launch System 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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Space Launch System 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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Space Launch System 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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Space Launch System Stories September 14

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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