Stacking Artemis at Kennedy Space Center

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The first of 10 pieces of the twin Space Launch System (SLS) rocket boosters for NASA’s Artemis I mission was placed on the mobile launcher Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Engineers used one of five overhead cranes to lift the segment from the VAB’s High Bay 4 to the newly renovated High Bay 3. The component is the bottom section of the booster, known as the aft assembly, which house the system that controls 70% of the steering during the rocket’s initial ascent. Over several weeks, the other segments will be stacked one at a time and topped with the forward assembly.


Engineers will transfer booster segments from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) beginning in late November. Workers with Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs teams will stack the twin five-segment boosters on the mobile launcher inside the VAB over a number of weeks. When the core stage arrives, it will join the boosters on the mobile launcher, followed by the interim cryogenic propulsion stage and Orion spacecraft.


NASA continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in order to protect the health and safety of media and employees. The agency will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency’s chief health and medical officer, and will immediately communicate any updates that may impact media access for these activities.

The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will test the Orion spacecraft and SLS as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024.

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Launching in 2021, Artemis I will be an uncrewed test of the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA aims to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024 and establish sustainable lunar exploration by the end of the decade.

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