SLS Core Stage gets a “Lift” in NASA’s VAB

Space Coast, FL – NASA’s SLS core stage has been lifted into a vertical position inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. This has been quite the journey for the Space Launch System. There is still much to do for when we get to see the SLS roll out of NASA’s VAB.

SLS Core Stage being lifted inside the VAB
SLS Core Stage being lifted inside the VAB | Photo: NASA/Frank Michaux

SLS Core Stage mating in High Bay 3

The lift of the core stage is quite the procedure and is carefully handled. With over an hour of safety checks and walk throughs the teams for NASA Exploration Ground Systems get prepared. Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs lift the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage. It is the largest part of the rocket.

SLS is hoisted up higher becoming almost vertical
SLS is hoisted up higher becoming almost vertical | Photo: NASA/Cory Huston

They soon prepared to move it over to High Bay 3 in the Vehicle Assembly Building. There it will be placed atop the mobile launcher platform (MLP-1, formerly called the Mobile Launcher-3 or ML-3) in between the twin solid rocket boosters, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The 188,000-pound core stage, with its four RS-25 engines, will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust during launch and ascent, and coupled with the boosters, will provide more than 8.8 million pounds of thrust to send the Artemis I mission to space.

A Vertical SLS Core Stage becomes a reality of the Artemis missions
A Vertical SLS Core Stage becomes a reality of the Artemis missions | Photo: NASA/Cory Huston

Under the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, as well as establish a sustainable presence on the lunar surface in preparation for human missions to Mars.

Lift Time-lapse Video

Video Time Lapse of Vertical Lift | NASA/Frank M Michaux & Cory S Huston

The Space Launch System Core Stage was later lowered and set between the two solid rocket boosters on top of MLP-1. High Bay 3 of NASA's VAB is now the new temporary home of the rocket. Meanwhile other parts and sections will be added soon to the mega moon rocket by NASA.

The SLS Core Stage sits between two SRBs in High Bay 3 | Photo: NASA

There are a few more steps to go to get the SLS prepped and ready for Artemis I. We'll be watching closely on the progress. Artemis I will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system. It will be the first in a series of increasingly complex missions.

Path to the pad for Artemis I | Infographic: NASA

Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration. And also demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond. During its flight, the uncrewed spacecraft Orion will travel thousands of miles beyond the Moon, farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown, the duration of the mission will be about three weeks.

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