NASA Space Launch System Core Stage Transported

Space Coast, FL – The NASA Space Launch System (SLS) core stage for the Artemis I mission arrived. It travelled aboard the Pegasus barge from NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf in Florida.

Space Launch System (SLS) core stage is shown being offloaded from the Pegasus Barge
Space Launch System (SLS) core stage is shown being offloaded from the Pegasus Barge | Photo: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Yesterday, the core stage was transported into the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building on a self-propelled module transporter. The Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs teams will perform checkouts prior to integrating the mega moon rocket stage with twin solid rocket boosters, Orion spacecraft, and other flight hardware. All before the Artemis I launch.

Aerial view of the SLS core stage to Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building
Aerial view of the SLS core stage to Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building | Photo: NASA/Frank Michaux

NASA Space Launch System - Artemis I

Artemis I will be the first test of NASA SLS and Orion. It will pave the way for landing the next humans on the lunar surface. This will also be a proving ground for deep space exploration, leading the agency’s efforts under the Artemis program for a sustainable presence on the Moon. It will also help prepare for human missions to Mars.

Inside the VAB, it will be prepared for integration with the completed stack | Photo: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Much excitement has been stirred here in Florida with the NASA Space Launch System's arrival. There will be two test roll outs of the fully stacked SLS rocket later. They will be performed on top of the ML-1 (Mobile Launcher 1) platform that will be escorted by CT-2 (Crawler Transport 2) to LC-39B and back to the VAB. Many have been waiting a long time since it's announcement during the Space Shuttle Program. Well, it's finally here and the real work on getting back to the Moon is in motion.

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Artemis I Moon Rocket Assembly Info Graphic

Step by Step Graphic of NASA's SLS integrations | Image: NASA