SpaceX Starship is set to propel itself into the record books today on its maiden flight, becoming the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever launched by humankind into space, topping a role call of famous and history-making heavy-lift launch vehicles including the mighty Saturn 5 that first took humans to the moon.
Reid Wiseman, a veteran U.S. Navy test pilot and former chief of NASA’s astronaut corps, will lead the four-person crew assigned to the Artemis 2 mission to carry people to the vicinity of the moon for the first time in more than 50 years. Wiseman says he views the crew’s job as making sure NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready for more demanding missions later this decade to support moon landings and assembly of a space station called the Gateway in lunar orbit.
NASA announced Monday that former U.S. Navy fighter pilots Reid Wiseman and Victor Glover, veteran space station astronaut Christina Koch, and rookie Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen will crew the Artemis 2 mission to fly around the far side of the moon as soon as late next year, a test flight that could carry the foursome farther from Earth than any humans in history.
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.
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.