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These images and videos show Reid Wiseman and Jeremy Hansen, members of the Artemis II crew, viewing the core stage of NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. The Artemis II astronauts met with team members at Michoud and the crew of NASA’s Pegasus barge prior to their departure to deliver the core stage to the Space Coast.  NASA astronaut and pilot of the Artemis II mission Victor Glover met the crew July 15. Wiseman and Hansen visited the barge July 16, shortly before the flight hardware was loaded onto it. The core stage for the SLS mega rocket is the largest stage NASA has ever produced. At 212 feet tall, the stage consists of five major elements, including two huge propellant tanks that collectively hold more than 733,000 gallons of super chilled liquid propellant to feed four RS-25 engines at its base. During launch and flight, the stage will operate for just over eight minutes, producing more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help send a crew of four astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft onward to the Moon. Pegasus – previously used to ferry space shuttle tanks – was modified and refurbished to ferry the SLS rocket’s massive core stage. At 212 feet in length and 27.6 feet in diameter, the Moon rocket stage is more than 50 feet longer than the space shuttle external tank.  NASA is working to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis. SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, and commercial human landing systems. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single launch.

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