NASA Prepares Advanced Rocket for Landing Humans on Moon

UNITED STATES: NASA is gearing up for an important chapter in the Artemis program, with significant progress made in preparing the advanced upper stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. This marks a crucial step towards the program’s goal of landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon.

Skilled technicians at the Michoud Assembly Facility have successfully completed a substantial portion of a weld confidence article for the SLS rocket’s exploration upper stage. This particular component plays an integral role in the liquid oxygen tank for the SLS rocket’s exploration upper stage and is one of seven such units being manufactured for the evolved SLS Block 1B configuration.

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The SLS rocket is scheduled to transition to its more powerful Block 1B configuration, starting with the Artemis IV mission. This upgrade will enable the rocket to transport 40% more payload to the Moon, including Artemis astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

Weld confidence articles serve a critical role in verifying welding procedures, assessing the interfaces between tooling and hardware, and confirming the structural integrity of the welds.

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The dome of the liquid oxygen tank weld confidence article was initially joined with its structural ring at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, using friction stir welding tooling. Subsequently, the hardware was transferred to Michoud, where crews at the Liquid Oxygen Tank Assembly Center (LTAC) finalized the welding process.

Engineers from both Marshall and Michoud conducted concurrent testing and analysis on the hardware to validate the welding parameters. In collaboration with Boeing, the primary contractor for the SLS core stage and exploration upper stage, NASA is involved in producing structural test articles and flight hardware structures for the upper stage at both Marshall and Michoud.

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Under the Artemis program, NASA seeks to make history by landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon. The SLS rocket, working in conjunction with the Orion spacecraft and the Gateway in lunar orbit, is a critical component of NASA’s deep space exploration infrastructure.

The progress made in preparing the advanced upper stage of the SLS rocket underscores NASA’s dedication to lunar exploration. With each milestone achieved, the prospect of returning to the Moon becomes increasingly real, and the world eagerly anticipates the historic moment when the first woman and person of color will step onto our celestial neighbor.

Also Read: SpaceX’s Starship Clears Safety Hurdle, Await Environmental Review for Second Liftoff

  • Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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