NASA’s first Space Launch System, or SLS has emerged from its assembly building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday to provide a look into the space agency’s biggest space vehicle since the Apollo era. The rollout comes as NASA is preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 16 mission that launched April 16, 1972.
Talking about the upcoming launch, astronaut Randy Bresnick said, “To see this magnificent beast come out of the spacecraft cocoon, so to speak, to emerge from a building built for moon rockets — that’s exciting and so important.”
“Overall, I expect the ride on SLS will be smoother than the shuttle because the shuttle had wings, and was mounted on the side of the fuel tank. SLS will be bumpy as the solid boosters fire, but after that, it’s just an aerodynamic capsule and abort module on top of the fuel tank.”
Jeremy Parsons, NASA deputy program manager for exploration ground systems, added, “We want to make sure this vehicle is fully safe to go put astronauts on the moon. We’ve tested it and even fired the engines, and now we want to make sure everything works in this integrated environment.”