NASA’s Artemis I SLS Rocket Core Stage Transported to Its New Home

Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage for the Artemis I mission arrived on April 27, 2021, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The core stage arrived aboard the Pegasus barge from NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf.

The core stage is shown being transported into the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building on a self-propelled module transporter on April 29, 2021. Teams from the center’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs will perform checkouts ahead of integrating the massive rocket stage with the twin solid rocket boosters, Orion spacecraft, and additional flight hardware ahead of the Artemis I launch.

NASA Pegasus Barge Infographic

NASA’s barge, Pegasus, will ferry the massive core stage of the agency’s new rocket, the Space Launch System, on journeys from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to other NASA centers for testing and for launches. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep-space missions. Credit: NASA

Artemis I will be the first integrated test of SLS and Orion and will pave the way for landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface. It will be a proving ground for deep space exploration, leading the agency’s efforts under the Artemis program for a sustainable presence on the Moon and preparing for human missions to Mars.


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