This week, NASA loaded its first Artemis Mission Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage on the Pegasus barge in New Orleans,media reported. The hardware required by Artemis was loaded onto a barge on January 8 and is scheduled to be shipped to NASA’s Stannis Space Center near St. Louis Bay, Mississippi.
PegASUS is the latest in a series of NASA barges built in 1999 to transport the shuttle’s external fuel tank from Louisiana to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
According to NASA, the SLS rocket phase will take the same waterway route as the first stage of the Saturn V rocket, the rocket launched by the Apollo 11 mission.
“This is a historic moment for NASA’s Artemis project and a proud moment for the SLS Core Phase team, as the first flight article has left the plant,” said Julie Bassler, NASA’s SLS Phase Manager. The SLS rocket core, which is understood to be taking part this week, is the largest rocket core ever built by NASA.
Bassler said the shipment of the core phase to Stannis before the core phase of the Green Run test marks an exciting new phase in NASA’s preparations for the first launch of Artemis. It is reported that the Green Run test series will be ready to be sent to the launch site during the verification phase.
It is understood that The first flight test of the SLS will be equipped with a 77-ton carrying capacity of the Block I. After the first unmanned launch, the SLS Block 1B will have a carrying capacity of 105 tons and the Block 2 (with additional boosters) will have a carrying capacity of 130 tons. Each SLS configuration for Artemis will use the same core stage and four RS-25 engines, all of which will be shipped by Pegasus.