Rocket propellant tanks for NASA's Artemis III mission are taking shape.

All major structures forming the primary stage for NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket for the agency’s Artemis III mission are structurally complete. Technicians finish welding the 51-foot liquid oxygen tank structure, left, inside the vertical assembly building at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Jan. 8. Liquid hydrogen tank, right, interior cleaning completed on November 14. Credit: NASA/Michael D. Moker

As NASA works to develop all the systems needed to return astronauts to the moon under its Artemis mission for the benefit of all, the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket will launch the astronauts on their journey. will be responsible. With the liquid oxygen tank now fully welded, all the major structures that will form the core stage for the SLS rocket for the agency’s Artemis III mission are ready for additional wear.

The hardware will be part of the rocket used for the first Artemis mission planned to land astronauts on the lunar surface near the moon’s south pole. Technicians completed welding 51 feet of liquid oxygen. A structure inside the Vertical Assembly Building at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans on January 8.

The Mega Rocket’s second major propellant tank — the liquid hydrogen tank — is already a fully welded structure. NASA and Boeing, the lead contractor for the SLS core stage, are currently priming the tank in another cell within the vertical assembly building area called the Building 131 Cryogenic Tank Thermal Protection System and Primer Application Complex. He completed the internal cleaning on 14 November.

Manufacturing hardware is a multi-step process that includes welding, washing, and subsequent preparation of the hardware. The internal cleaning process is similar to a shower to ensure that contaminants do not enter the stage’s complex propulsion and engine systems prior to priming.

After the internal cleaning is complete, the primer is applied to the barrel section of the tank and the outer parts of the dome by an automated robotic tool. After the primer, technicians apply a foam-based thermal protection system It will face during launch and flight while also regulating the super-cooled propellant inside it.

Credit: NASA

“NASA and its partners are processing major hardware elements at Michoud for multiple SLS rockets in parallel to support the agency’s Artemis mission,” said Chad Bryant, acting manager of NASA’s SLS Program Stage Office. said “With the Artemis II core stage nearing completion, key structural elements of the Artemis III SLS core stage will move through production on the factory floor.”

The two large propellant tanks for the rocket hold a total of more than 733,000 gallons of supercooled propellant. The propellant powers the four RS-25 engines and must be super-cooled to remain liquid.

The core stage, with RS-25 engines, will generate 2 million pounds of thrust to help launch NASA’s Orion spacecraft, astronauts, and supplies out of Earth orbit and onto the lunar surface for Artemis III. SLS is unique. which could send Orion, astronauts and equipment to the Moon in a single launch.

Reference: Rocket Propellant Tanks Take Shape for NASA’s Artemis III Mission (2024, February 19) Accessed February 19, 2024 at https://phys.org/news/2024-02-rocket-propellant-tanks-nasa-artemis. Retrieved from html

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