Engineers and technicians working for NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans managed to structurally mate the first of four RS-25 engines to the core stage for NASA's Space Launch System, known as SLS, a rocket that will help power the first Artemis mission to the Moon.
For each of the four RS-25 engines, the installation process will be repeated. All of the four engines that were used for Artemis I were delivered to Michoud from the facility of Aerojet Rocketdyne at NASA's Stennis Space Center located in Mississippi, in June.
The engines are located at the bottom of the core stage in a square pattern and they are fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
During launch and flight, the four engines will fire for 8.5 minutes nonstop. They'll emit hot gases from each nozzle, 13 times faster than the speed of sound.
The completed version of the core stage, with all four engines attached, will be the largest rocket stage NASA has built since the Saturn V stages for the Apollo Program.
NASA aims to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. SLS is pretty important for NASA in deep space explorations, along with Orion and the Getaway in orbit around the Moon. For now, SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion—NASA's next Moon rocket—, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon on a single mission.
On September 19, the engineers of the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) secured the final five components of the Space Launch System (SLS). The final piece they mounted onto the SLS was a 64 meter-tall core stage that was the engine part. With this, NASA's next moon rocket, Orion, will be enabled to launch on its lunar mission.
The engine was built to be the attachment point for the four RS-25 engines, and one of the four RS-25 engines was successfully attached this week.
The SLS makes up the core stage upon which Orion spacecraft will be placed with two solid rocket boosters.
With the capacity to go to the Moon, asteroids and other deep space missions, The Orion spacecraft is going to be USA's next-generation crewed spacecraft.
In the long term, NASA's goal is to build Gateway which will be a space station that will be set in lunar orbit.