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Key Piece Of NASA Moon Rocket Arrives In Florida Amid Watchdog Scrutiny

Technicians with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems move the launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on July 30, 2020, for processing. Photo: Jacobs

A key piece of NASA’s next moon rocket has arrived at Kennedy Space Center, ahead of a launch next year. The program is facing new scrutiny by a government watchdog agency.

SLS’s launch vehicle stage adapter arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on a barge from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

It’s the second to last key piece of the rocket to arrive at KSC ahead of a planned launch next year. The adapter connects the first stage booster to the upper stage of the rocket and protects the second-stage engine during the initial moments of liftoff.

The core stage of the rocket system is undergoing a critical green run test, including a planned firing of the four engines, at NASA’s Alabama facility.

The first launch of SLS and Orion space capsule will not have a crew, but it’s a critical test-flight for NASA’s Artemis program which is tasked with landing humans on the south pole of the moon.

President Trump set a deadline of 2024 for a human landing mission. NASA’s Office of Inspector General announced a review of the safety challenges of meeting the 2024 deadline.

The program has come under fire by the OIG for mismanagement, budget issues and schedule delays.


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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »