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Artemis II Rocket Propellant Tanks Prepped for Next Phase of Manufacturing


Both of the Artemis II propellant tanks for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket are moving to the next phase of manufacturing at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Artemis II is to be the first crewed mission with SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Teams at Michoud completed welding on each of the giant tanks earlier this fall. The liquid oxygen tank has completed proof testing and is being readied for non-destructive evaluation, while the liquid hydrogen tank is being prepared for proof testing. The tests validate weld strength and ensure structural soundness of the structures. Testing methods of the two propellant tanks differ due to the size and load differences the two pieces of hardware will experience during flight. The liquid oxygen tank and liquid hydrogen tank hold a combined 733,000 gallons of propellant super cooled to minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit to power the four RS-25 engines at the bottom of the rocket. Crews are working in tandem on flight hardware for Artemis I and Artemis II. The core stage for Artemis I is in the final stages of production at the facility.

NASA is working to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with Orion and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon. NASA is targeting 2022 to test SLS with astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft.