NASA and Boeing crews have successfully placed the forward skirt for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Artemis III rocket into the Vertical Assembly Center robotic weld tool for its next phase of production at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
The forward skirt sits atop the rocket’s core stage, and it will be outfitted with the rocket’s flight computers and avionics systems to control SLS during launch and ascent. To make the forward skirt, engineers joined panels together in the vertical weld tool to form the circular structure show in the first image, left.
Next, they moved the forward skirt, to the Vertical Assembly Center where rings will be welded to the top and bottom of the forward skirt. Boeing engineer Amanda Gertjejansen inspects the forward skirt inside the world’s largest robotic welder, right.
Later, technicians will use the rings to bolt together the parts of the core stage. The fully-assembled, 212-foot-tall rocket stage consists of five hardware elements. NASA and Boeing are in the process of building all the core stage’s large structures for Artemis III: the forward skirt, the liquid oxygen tank, the intertank, the liquid hydrogen tank, and the engine section.
Together, the core stage and its four RS-25 engines will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help launch the Artemis III astronauts on their lunar mission. The forward skirt attaches to the liquid oxygen tank, one of two giant liquid propellant tanks on the core stage. It will hold 196,000 gallons of liquid oxygen cooled to minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit.
With the Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon and establish long-term exploration in preparation for missions to Mars. SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, along with the human landing system and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, are NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single mission.Internet Explorer Channel Network