Science and Exploration

Artemis II Engine Section Flipped And Prepared for Final Join

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
February 18, 2023
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Artemis II Engine Section Flipped And Prepared for Final Join
Artemis II Engine Section

Technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans flipped the engine section of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket for Artemis II from a vertical to a horizontal position Feb. 11.

The flip, also known as a breakover, is in preparation for the final assembly and integration into the core stage for the second SLS rocket. The engine section is the bottom-most portion of the 212-foot-tall core stage and is one of the most complex and intricate portions of the rocket that will help power the first crewed Artemis mission to the Moon.

It is the last of five elements that is needed to join the stage as one structure. In addition to its miles of cabling and hundreds of sensors, the engine section is a crucial attachment point for the four RS-25 engines and two solid rocket boosters that produce a combined 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff and flight.

Next, teams will move the engine section into the final assembly area where they will complete the join. After the join is complete, teams will begin to add each of the four RS-25 engines.

The completely assembled stage with its four RS-25 engines will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida later this year. The SLS rocket is the only rocket capable of carrying astronauts in Orion around the Moon in a single mission.

Image credit: NASA/Michael larger image

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.