Teams at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have fully integrated all five major structures of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket‘s core stage for Artemis II, the first crewed Artemis mission that will send four astronauts around the Moon and return them home. Technicians joined the engine section to the rest of the rocket stage March 17. Next, teams will integrate the four RS-25 engines to the engine section to complete the stage.
Located at the bottom of the 212-foot-tall core stage, the engine section is the most complex and intricate part of the rocket stage, helping to power Artemis missions to the Moon. In addition to its miles of cabling and hundreds of sensors, the engine section is a crucial attachment point for the RS-25 engines and two solid rocket boosters that produce a combined 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. It houses the engines and includes vital systems for mounting, controlling, and delivering fuel from the propellant tanks to the engines.
The core stage for Artemis II is built, outfitted, and assembled at Michoud. Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the surface of the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone for astronauts on the way to Mars.
Image credit: NASA/Michael DeMocker