NASA Shares Glorious New Views Of Its Extremely Powerful SLS Moon Rocket

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This patriotic view from September 17 shows an American flag with the SLS rocket being assembled at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

NASA / Frank Michaux

If you enjoy impressive design and engineering feats, take a moment of your day to take an in-depth look at the latest images of the extremely large rocket from NASA’s Space Launch System. It’s the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, and it shows on the scale of the beast.

SLS meets at Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it will ultimately be used to launch the Artemis 1 unmanned mission to send an Orion spacecraft around the moon. With SLS set to take off this year, no one will be surprised if the big event slips into 2022.

While the timing of the launch can be a bit uncertain, we know for sure that the juggernaut is making progress. In June, we took a look at the center stage with the boosters along its sides.

The new views come from when NASA performed an umbilical release and retraction test (URRT) inside the spacious vehicle assembly building.

SLS has several umbilicals that supply the rocket with power, coolant, fuel, and communications. When the rocket ignites and takes off, the umbilical arms move out of the way. It’s an important part of the launch choreography. URRT is about making sure these systems are functioning properly.

Wednesday, NASA shared a video of the test in action.

Artemis 1 will be a key first step in testing SLS and the Orion spacecraft. There will be no humans on board, but it will set the stage for future crewed missions to bring humans back to the surface of our lunar neighbor. It has been decades since people last visited during the Apollo era of the 1960s and 1970s.

The SLS main stage (the central part) is 212 feet (65 meters) and weighs 188,000 pounds (85,275 kilograms). The Orion spacecraft will eventually be added to the top of SLS as a crown. When SLS finally launches, it will mark the start of the Artemis Era and perhaps make the moon a little more within reach of humanity once again.



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