Media are invited to learn about NASA’s deep space exploration plans and view hardware for the world’s most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), at the agency’s Rocket Day, Wednesday, Oct. 11, at NASA locations in Mississippi and Louisiana.
The tours begin at 7:30 a.m. CDT at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, followed by a visit to the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans around noon. On the tours, NASA will display completed hardware, including: the four RS-25 engines for SLS’ first flight with the Orion spacecraft; test stands; core stage flight hardware; the agency’s Pegasus barge, used to transport SLS components; and the SLS core stage mockup, also known as a pathfinder.
Media who would like to attend Rocket Day should contact Tracy McMahan or Jennifer Stanfield at 256-544-0034 no later than 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5. Due to facility limitations, this event is open only to U.S. citizens.
To attend the event, media must wear long pants and flat closed-toe shoes with no heels. On the day of the tours, registered media must meet at the INFINITY Science Center, located at 1 Discovery Circle in Pearlington, Mississippi. Photo identification and proof of car insurance is required. Bus transportation will be provided to Stennis and between facilities.
During Rocket Day, NASA and prime contractors manufacturing and testing SLS will provide expert-led facility tours and answer questions about the rocket’s path to the pad. Five completed structures that make up the rocket’s core stage are being outfitted and assembled at Michoud, and the four RS-25 engines assembled and ready to be shipped to Michoud where they will be attached to the core stage.
The core stage pathfinder, which is the same size, shape and weight as the 212-foot-long SLS core stage, arrived at Michoud Sept. 27 and was turned over to NASA for further validation. Engineers will practice operations with the pathfinder before performing those same operations with the valuable core stage flight article.
The SLS program has met several milestones in the process of developing the world’s largest rocket, including completion of flight preparations on all four RS-25 engines, delivery of the core stage flight computers – the brains of the rocket – to Michoud, and delivery of the in-space stage – the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage – to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Teams across the country are making steady progress toward the first flight of SLS and Orion with more than 1,100 companies in 43 states working to build or support the America’s new heavy-lift rocket.
Video resources from the tours will be available on NASA’s Video and Imagery Library following the event.