NASA and its contractors recently completed a dress rehearsal of shipping the first Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage from the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, where technicians practiced lifting a full-scale replica and placing it in the B-2 Test Stand where the real stage will be tested next year.
The civilian space agency’s Pegasus barge is now transporting the simulator to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida where the Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) team there will run through similar crane lifting procedures in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for Artemis 1 launch processing next year.
The Core Stage Pathfinder has the same size, shape, weight, and balance as a dry flight article, and was built to allow a detailed rehearsal of the transportation and crane operations before doing them with the first flight article. A dry Core Stage weighs over 100 metric tons, as much as Space Shuttle Orbiters did during flight, and NASA is employing a custom overland transportation system to carry it.
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