The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA has completed the stacking of the Space Launch System (SLS). The space is now targeting early next year. This is the first moon rocket set for launch since the Apollo program. However, it is months behind schedule. The tentative date for the launch is now February 12. However, this will be possible only if its final tests will go well. This will be part of the US space agency’s Artemis program. The program is aimed at sending astronauts back to the moon, Earth’s nearest neighbor.
There will two major components – Orion crew capsule and obviously SLS rocket. With the completion of staking, a major milestone has been achieved by the US space agency. With this, the countdown for the launch has also begun. Together, they will fly the first mission. However, it will be an uncrewed flight. The flight has been termed Artemis 1 and the expected date for the launch is February 12. Artemis 1 program manager Mike Sarafin said that completion of stacking is definitely an important milestone. Tom Whitmeyer of NASA said that the rocket and crew capsule will reach LaunchPad 39B in late December for testing. This will be followed by a fueling exercise which is known as a wet dress rehearsal.
It is worth mentioning that engineers from across the country have contributed to the development of SLS. The bulk of the hardware of the rocket, which is powered by a core stage, has been assembled and tested at the tennis Space Center and Michoud Assembly Facility of NASA. The core stage along with four RS-25 engines was fired up twice this year. This was part of a hot-fire test. It was done to make sure that all the components of the rocket were working properly. It was important as the earlier shutdown was because of an anomaly in the hydraulic system of one of the engines.