NASA’sÂ Kennedy Space Center has accepted delivery of hardware that would help personnelÂ prepare for the Space Launch System’s first Moon mission with the Orion spacecraft.
The space agency said Saturday it will use theÂ core stage pathfinder to trainÂ lift crews inÂ handling hardware of the SLS rocket. Pathfinders areÂ full-scale mock-up models that have the shape and size ofÂ their corresponding SLS components.
The core stage pathfinder arrived in a package from NASA’s Pegasus barge, a vessel tasked to ship components and test articles of the SLS rocket. NASA will employ a total of three SLS pathfinders, including those for the launch vehicle’sÂ solid rocket booster and RS-25 engine.
Personnel atÂ NASAâs Stennis Space Center completedÂ lift and handling exercises with the core stage pathfinder in August in preparation for green run tests with the actual core stage.
âAmong other things, the exercise helped us identify minor facility modifications early enough to provide the time needed to make the corrections prior to the arrival of the core stage flight hardware,” saidÂ Barry Robinson, B-2 Test Stand core stage test project manager at Stennis.
âPracticing operations with pathfinders offers teams hands-on experience for managing and handling the immense structures before this one-of-a-kind flight hardware arrives,â Robinson added.
The pathfinders will help NASA prepare SLS for Artemis I, a mission that aims to send astronauts to the moon and revive manned lunar exploration.