NASA Pins Down First Step in SLS Stacking for Artemis I

Inside the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Payton Jones, at left, a launch vehicle processing technician, and Bradley Bundy, a spaceflight technician, both with Jacobs, complete the first mate pinning of the right-hand motor segment to the right-hand aft skirt on one of the two solid rocket boosters for the agency’s Space Launch System. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

About a dozen technicians and engineers from Exploration Ground Systems worked together recently at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to carry out the first step in stacking the twin solid rocket boosters that help launch NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for the first Artemis lunar mission.

Inside the Florida spaceport’s Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility, the NASA and Jacobs team completed a pin. The pinning activity involved using bolts to attach one of five segments that make up one of two solid rocket boosters for SLS to the rocket’s aft skirt. A crane crew assisted in mating the aft segments to the rocket’s two aft skirts.

A handful of the team members gained pinning experience on boosters for the space shuttle, while the rest were first-time pinners. Pablo Martinez, Jacobs TOSC handling, mechanical and structures engineer, inserted the first of 177 pins per joint to complete the first official step in stacking the SLS boosters.

The next step is a move to Kennedy’s iconic Vehicle Assembly Building to await stacking on the mobile launcher.

Manufactured by Northrop Grumman in Utah, the 177-foot-tall twin boosters provide more than 75 percent of the total SLS thrust at launch. SLS is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built.

The SLS rocket will launch NASA’s Orion spacecraft and send it to the Moon for Artemis I — a mission to test the two as an integrated system, leading up to human missions to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.

View a video of booster segment mate pinning.

Artemis II Orion Stage Adapter Taking Shape

Technicians at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, move panels for the Artemis II Orion stage adapter to a large robotic, welding machine.

Three panels for the Artemis II Orion stage adapter were built by AMRO Fabricating Corp. in South El Monte, California and shipped to Marshall where engineers and technicians from NASA are joining them using a sophisticated friction-stir welding process to form the Orion stage adapter. This critical part of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will send the Artemis II crew into lunar orbit. AMRO also built panels for the Artemis II launch vehicle stage adapter also currently being built at Marshall and the SLS core stage and the Orion crew module built at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. All panels where joined with the same friction-stir welding process. The Artemis I Orion stage adapter, also built at Marshall, has been delivered to Kennedy Space Center where it will be stacked with the rest of the SLS rocket components.  The adapter connects the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, the rocket’s upper stage that sends Orion to the Moon, to the Orion spacecraft. The Orion stage adapter has space for small payloads; on Artemis I it will transport 13 small satellites to deep space where they can study everything from asteroids to the Moon and radiation. SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket, along with NASA’s Orion spacecraft, will launch America into a new era of exploration to destinations beyond Earth’s orbit.

NASA Checks Out SLS Core Stage Avionics for Artemis I Mission

NASA completed  the second of eight tests in the Green Run test series at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage is installed in the B-2 Test Stand. The avionics power on and checkout test steadily brought the core stage flight avionics hardware, which controls the rocket’s first eight minutes of flight, to life for the first time. The three flight computers and avionics are located in the forward skirt, the top section of the 212-foot tall core stage, with more avionics distributed in the core’s intertank and engine section.

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NASA Completes Artemis Space Launch System Structural Testing Campaign

On June 24, 2020, engineers completed the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s structural testing campaign for the Artemis lunar missions by testing the liquid oxygen structural test article to find its point of failure.

For the final test, the liquid oxygen tank test article — measuring 70 feet tall and 28 feet in diameter — was bolted into a massive 185,000-pound steel ring at the base of Marshall’s Test Stand 4697. Hydraulic cylinders were then calibrated and positioned all along the tank to apply millions of pounds of crippling force from all sides while engineers measured and recorded the effects of the launch and flight forces. The liquid oxygen tank circumferentially failed in the weld location as engineers predicted and at the approximate load levels expected, proving flight readiness and providing critical data for the tank’s designers. The test concluded at approximately 9 p.m. CT. This final test to failure on the LOX STA met all the program milestones.

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Rocket Motors for First NASA Artemis Moon Mission Arrive at Spaceport

A train transporting the 10 booster segments for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket arriving at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Twin rocket boosters for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) that will power Artemis missions to the Moon have arrived at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The two motor segments, each comprised of five segments, arrived at Kennedy’s Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF) on June 15, 2020, by train from a Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Promontory, Utah. Credits: NASA/Kevin O’Connell

The rocket booster segments that will help power NASA’s first Artemis flight test mission around the Moon arrived at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday for launch preparations.

All 10 segments for the inaugural flight of NASA’s first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft were shipped by train from Promontory, Utah. The 10-day, cross-country journey is an important milestone toward the first launch for NASA’s Artemis program.

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SLS Aft Skirts for Artemis I Move Out of Booster Fabrication Facility

Inside the Booster Fabrication Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Artemis I aft skirts for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s twin solid rocket boosters are being readied for their move to the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF). In view, the left aft skirt assembly is attached to a move vehicle and moved out of a test cell. The aft skirts were refurbished by Northrop Grumman. They house the thrust vector control system, which controls 70 percent of the steering during initial ascent of the SLS rocket. The segments will remain in the RPSF until ready for stacking with the forward and aft parts of the booster on the mobile launcher in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

NASA Prepares To Send Artemis I Booster Segments to Kennedy for Stacking

NASA Prepares To Send Artemis I Booster Segments to Kennedy for Stacking

As it soars off the launch pad for the Artemis I missions, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is powered by two solid rocket boosters. Critical parts of the booster will soon head to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for the Artemis I launch. Specialized transporters move each of the 10 solid rocket motor segments from the Northrop Grumman facility in their Promontory Point, Utah, to a departure point where they will leave for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The cross-country journey is an important milestone toward the first launch of NASA’s Artemis lunar program.

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