NASA’s SLS is ready: this is the largest rocket they have built to date at 65 meters high and 85 tons
We hear about him for the first time in 2015 and six years later it is about to take off. NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) has been assembled and they say it will be the largest and most powerful rocket they have placed in space to date. At 85 tons and 65 meters high, this rocket is intended for the Artemis lunar missions with a first release this year.
It’s a rocket … big. NASA finally assembled and erected it at its Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Along with two huge booster boosters on its sides, it is a rocket that at the moment has no rival apart from la futura Starship from SpaceX when the Super Heavy-Lift is attached.
The ticket to the Moon
Simply lifting such a monster and putting it on the mobile launch pad is quite a feat. Alone the central stage measures 65 meters and weighs 85,275 kilograms. To it we will have to add the complementary capsules for the payloads and the cabin with astronauts inside. In the following NASA video we can see a timelapse lifting the huge rocket:
Engineers with Exploration Ground Systems and @JacobsConnects lifted the @NASA_SLS rocket core stage for the @NASAArtemis I mission in the Vehicle Assembly Building at @NASAKennedy. Check out this timelapse from operations. pic.twitter.com/Vnv6GnJ7VX
— NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (@NASAGroundSys) June 11, 2021
The rocket was tested (its engines) in March of this year, although it did not lift off the ground. Now NASA has transported it from Mississippi (where it was assembled) to Florida (from where it will be launched). It is expected that the first launch of the SLS occurs this year, for a NASA mission intended to carry payload and not astronauts.
The SLS is consisting essentially of a huge fuel tank with four engines. But it will not be these engines that initially lift the rocket, but the two 57-meter-high boosters that accompany it. The main tank will be used later in the mission for the trip to the Moon and back.
Artemis I, the mission with which it will be used for the first time the SLS, is intended to demonstrate the capabilities of the rocket and the Orion spacecraft. To demonstrate its capabilities before NASA places humans inside and sends them to the Moon. And if all goes well, the ticket from the United States to the Moon is this huge rocket designed to take over from the gigantic Saturn of decades ago.
It won’t be until Artemis III when NASA sends astronauts back to the Moon. Expected may that mission arrive sometime in 2024 or later. For it NASA also has the collaboration of SpaceX and his Starship, which is being adapted for the task.