The core stage of NASA’s first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday evening aboard a specially-built barge, completing a voyage by sea from a test site in Mississippi to begin final preparations for the first flight of NASA’s Artemis Moon program. Ground crews plan to transport the core stage into the Vehicle Assembly Building beginning around 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT) Thursday to join its two solid rocket boosters.
Teams at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi removed the core of NASA’s first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket from a test stand earlier this week for loading onto a barge to carry it to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the rocket stage is due to arrive by the end of the month to start final preparations for a test flight around the Moon.
A second unpiloted test flight of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule — ordered after an initial demonstration mission fell short of reaching the International Space Station — is now scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral in August or September, leaving little margin to conduct the spaceship’s first flight with astronauts before the end of the year.
The core piece of NASA’s first huge Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket designed to carry astronauts back to the moon fired its main engines more than eight minutes Thursday in southern Mississippi, acing a crucial test before the it ships to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to prepare for liftoff.
NASA fired up four hydrogen-fueled main engines on the core stage of the first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket Thursday in on a test stand in Mississippi, a redo of a crucial hot fire test that was cut short in January by technical issues. The engines burned more than eight minutes in an apparently successful test.
The twin 177-foot-tall solid-fueled boosters for the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System have been stacked inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center to await arrival of the rocket’s cryogenic core stage, which is set for a second engine test on a firing stand in Mississippi later this month.
An unpiloted test flight of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to the International Space Station will be delayed from its previous target launch date of April 2 until at least May, after the arrivals of Russian Soyuz and SpaceX Crew Dragon ships bringing fresh crew members to the orbiting complex, NASA officials said Monday.