On November 28, 2023, engineers and workers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida process the right forward center segment of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket inside the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility. The segments will form the twin solid rocket boosters for the SLS rocket that will power NASA’s Artemis II mission, and their continuous processing is the first step before stacking operations begin. The team has been elevating each section to a vertical position and inspecting it one by one since arriving by rail in September to make sure the solid propellant and segment are prepared for integration and launch.
After each of the ten segments has finished processing, they will be transported one at a time to the Vehicle Assembly Building in order to be stacked atop the mobile launcher. Each booster is 17 floors high and burns about six tons of propellant every second, which is equivalent to the thrust produced by fourteen four-engine jumbo commercial airplanes. At launch, the twin boosters collectively generate about 75% of the thrust required for SLS.
As part of the agency’s plan to create a long-term science and exploratory presence at the Moon and eventually Mars, the Artemis II mission will fly four men around the Moon.