NASA has just completed and is about to ship the huge intertank for the Space Launch System that will send man into deep space.
At a facility in New Orleans, NASA is hard at work on one of the most remarkable new pieces of space equipment you are ever likely to see. The Michoud Assembly Facility just unveiled a huge piece of hardware that will be intended to a deep-space rocket that could one day carry humans to Mars.
The piece is a structural test version of the intertank for the Space Launch System, which was loaded onto the Pegasus barge to transport it to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., where it will undergo testing. Michoud has long enjoyed a reputation as NASA’s rocket factory for delivering critical components for historic space missions, and this one will be no different.
The Space Launch System, which will be 321 feet tall, will eventually be used for a manned mission to Mars, although initially its mission is to get man back to the moon again. The SLS will be responsible for carrying NASA’s Orion spacecraft into deep space and on to Mars. Orion was also built at Michoud.
“A structural test version of the intertank for NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System, is loaded onto the barge Pegasus Feb. 22, at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans,” reads a NASA statement. “The intertank is the second piece of structural hardware for the rocket’s massive core stage scheduled for delivery to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for testing. Engineers at Marshall will push, pull and bend the intertank with millions of pounds of force to ensure the hardware can withstand the forces of launch and ascent.”