NASA completes the booster for its 'mega-rocket'
The space launch system's core stage is the biggest booster ever made.
NEW ORLEANS — NASA rolled out the core stage of the Space Launch System 'mega-rocket' from a New Orleans factory on Wednesday.
BBC reports that the core stage was loaded onto the Pegasus barge to sail down the Mississippi River for testing at the Stennis Space Center.
According to NASA, the SLS rocket is the backbone of U.S. plans to land on the moon again by 2024 and to explore Mars. It has a top speed of Mach 23.
NASA states that the rocket's core stage is 212 feet tall and 27.6 feet wide, making it the largest booster ever built.
The core stage features a forward skirt for housing avionics, a liquid oxygen fuel tank, an intertank that joins the boosters' tanks, a liquid hydrogen fuel tank and quadruple RS-24 engines.
The four engines create more than 2 million pounds of combined thrust.
The BBC reports that the SLS will deliver the Orion spacecraft—which is undergoing testing—to Luna for the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission planned for the next year.
According to European Space Agency, the Orion spacecraft will feature foldable solar panels and it will orbit the moon for the Artemis 1 mission.
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