NASA has announced what it calls ‘the most powerful rocket ever built,’ which was created to transport humans on the Moon.
The space agency designed Space Launch System (SLS), which is 65-meters (213 feet) tall wit the aim of sending astronauts to the lunar surface as part of its Artemis mission. The expedition is scheduled to launch in 2022.
This week, NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine revealed the SLS’s core stage at the space agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility based in New Orleans. He said that the completion of the rocket’s core phase is a significant milestone and a testament to American enterprise and skill.
“With more than 1,100 large and small businesses in 44 states contributing to the design and assembly, the SLS rocket will empower America to achieve the Artemis program’s goal of landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024,” he added.
The Most Powerful Rocket Yet
The rocket packs some of the most advanced hardware ever designed for spaceflight, NASA claims. John Honeycutt, the SLS Program Manager, explained that earlier this year, the space agency changed the assembly plan to link the stage horizontally instead of vertically, as it was previously discussed.
“By doing so, NASA advanced its timeline so that our teams could meet our goal to complete assembly on the core stage by the end of the year. It was great to have for employees, stakeholders, and the public to join us in the factory to mark the occasion,” he said.
When it comes to timeline, NASA plans to launch the SLS on an uncrewed expedition to the Moon in 2020, before launching a manned expedition around Earth’s natural satellite in 2022. The space agency aims to land humans on the Moon in 2040, but getting to the Moon is not an easy-peasy feat. It actually requires a powerful rocket to speed up a spacecraft sufficiently rapid to overcome the force of Earth’s gravity.
When the SLS launches, it will send off a shrieking 8.8 million pounds of thrust, which is more powerful than any rocket built before. If the launch of the lunar surface is a success, the SLS could be utilized to send humans to the Moon in the future.