Space: All about the "SLS rocket" that will send the next astronauts to the moon

Space: All about the “SLS rocket” that will send the next astronauts to the moon

SLS. Three messages to the Space Launch System. This is the name of the new NASA rocket, which should refer to the return of man to the moon. However, 52 years after our first steps on our satellite, the challenge promises to be far from measured.

From a height of 99 meters and a weight of 2,700 tons, this launcher appears to be the most powerful rocket in history. In March 2022, the object entered the testing phase on the launch pad of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. The first launch should take place next summer in Florida, but this monster will be the key to the success of the Artemis space project, which most of the world’s space agencies are working on, under the leadership of NASA. The SLS missile is the result of 11 years of development since the launch of the project.

Above all, this super launcher witnesses the enormity of a flight of about 380,000 km that humanity has not made since 1972, 50 years ago, when the Apollo 17 mission marked the end of NASA’s lunar program. In order to propel the crew, food and equipment, it was necessary to design a giant at least equivalent to the Saturn V rocket that was launched in the Apollo program, its height reached 110 meters.

If the US space agency is currently communicating about its new progress by sharing its agenda almost daily, then the SLS launcher is above all the culmination of an international project. France and its experts from ESA and Cnes also have a lot to do with it. The Orion capsule, which can be observed at the top of it, was designed in France and is the same capsule in which astronauts will ascend to land on the moon.

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Unlike its 1969 cousin where there were three passengers, the astronauts could be up to four. Measuring five meters in diameter and two meters high, it will allow the crew and their equipment to join SpaceX’s Starship Human Landing System (HLS), which will await them in orbit. It is this device that will take care of the moon landing.

The goal of the moon in 2024-2025

According to NASA’s calendar, 2022 will be the first test launch of the SLS rocket, but this rocket will not be operational. A second flight, with a crew, should depart around the moon, but without landing there in 2024, before the real one takes place to sign astronauts back to the moon in 2025, at best.

An as yet unknown crew of astronauts. But NASA promises that at least one woman will eventually be a part of it. You will then be the first to set foot on the satellite.

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