SLS Artemis 1 core stage nearing completion

SLS Artemis 1 core stage nearing completion

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SLS Core Stage 1 (Artemis - 1) under construction at Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, La. Photo Credit: Eric Bordelon / NASA

SLS Core Stage 1 (Artemis 1) under construction at Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, La. Photo Credit: Eric Bordelon / NASA

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The core stage (CS-1) for the first flight (Artemis 1 (formerly Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1)) of NASA’s next super-heavy lift launch vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS), is nearing completion at the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans.

The CS-1 “forward join” — the mated forward skirt, liquid oxygen (LOX) tank, and interstage — was completed in February. Thereafter, the join was removed from its vertical stacking cell, rotated to the horizontal, and transported to another area of the facility for mating with the lower portion of the stage.

In addition, the assembly of the CS-1 liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank has been completed, its thermal protection has been applied, and it has now been mated with the the forward join.

Four Shuttle-heritage RS-25 engines ready for installation in SLS Core Stage 1. Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / SpaceFlight Insider.

Four Shuttle-heritage RS-25 engines ready for installation in SLS Core Stage 1. Photo Credit: Scott Johnson / SpaceFlight Insider.

The aft section of the stage, the engine section, has been mated with the “boat-tail,” and is nearing completion.

Within the next few weeks, the engine section (with the integrated boat-tail) should be mated with the forward section of the stage.

Testing of the four CS-1 Shuttle-heritage RS-25 engines has been completed at the Stennis Space Center (SSC), and the engines have been be trucked to MAF — with the last engine arriving on June 27.

Installation of the engines should begin shortly after the engine section is mated to the core stage.

If construction continues as expected, CS-1 assembly should be completed, at MAF, by December (2019).

The stage will then be placed on NASA’s Pegasus barge, at the MAF dock, and transported up the Pearl River to SSC’s B-2 test stand for the “green run” testing of the stage and its four RS-25 engines.

Although no firm schedule has been provided, confidence has been expressed that the completed CS-1 core stage should be secured in SSC’s B-2 stand prior to the end of 2019, and the “green run” test should take place a few months thereafter.

The first flight of SLS, Artemis 1, with CS-1, is scheduled to occur in 2020. However, there are concerns that the launch may slip to 2021.

For more recent photos of SLS construction at MAF, click here: Artemis

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Scott earned both a Bachelor’s Degree in public administration, and a law degree, from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He currently practices law in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood. Scott first remembers visiting Marshall Space Flight Center in 1978 to get an up-close look at the first orbiter, Enterprise, which had been transported to Huntsville for dynamic testing. More recently, in 2006, he participated in an effort at the United States Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) to restore the long-neglected Skylab 1-G Trainer. This led to a volunteer position, with the USSRC curator, where he worked for several years maintaining exhibits and archival material, including flown space hardware. Scott attended the STS – 110, 116 and 135 shuttle launches, along with Ares I-X, Atlas V MSL and Delta IV NROL-15 launches. More recently, he covered the Atlas V SBIRS GEO-2 and MAVEN launches, along with the Antares ORB-1, SpaceX CRS-3, and Orion EFT-1 launches.

https://www.spaceflightinsider.com/missions/human-spaceflight/sls-artemis-1-core-stage-nearing-completion/


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