December 2, 2021

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NASA’s new moon rocket, the Space Launch System, takes shape in giant hangar

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A view of the core stage positioned in between its two solid rocket boosters, that will give the heavy lifter an extra kick on liftoff. (Image credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is one step closer to the moon. The space agency’s next megarocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) is coming together ahead of its first planned launch later this year. 

The behemoth’s core stage arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, via barge on April 27, before rolling into the massive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), its home until launch.

The agency celebrated the milestone, which marked the first time that all of the rocket’s components were in the same place and the first time a rocket bound for deep space was in the VAB since the end of the Apollo era.

A view of two NASA moon rockets: Apollo’s Saturn V booster (left) and the Artemis 1 Space Launch System core booster  (right).  (Image credit: NASA)

After its arrival, the core stage spent the next few weeks in the transfer aisle of the VAB before it was hoisted on top of the mobile launch platform to join the two solid rocket boosters that are already stacked in High Bay 3. 

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