Artemis II NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, and Christina Koch of NASA, and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) astronaut Jeremy Hansen signed the Orion stage adapter for the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Nov. 27. The hardware is the topmost portion of the SLS rocket that they will launch atop during Artemis II when the four astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft will venture around the Moon.
From left, Artemis II astronauts Jeremy Hansen, Christina Koch, Victor Glover, and Reid Wiseman sign the SLS Orion stage adapter for the Artemis II mission during their visit to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Nov. 27.
Image credits: NASA/Charles Beason
The Orion stage adapter is a small ring structure that connects NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the SLS rocket’s interim cryogenic propulsion stage and fully manufactured at Marshall. At five feet tall and weighing 1,800 pounds, the adapter is the smallest major element of the SLS rocket. During Artemis II, the adapter’s diaphragm will serve as a barrier to prevent gases created during launch from entering the spacecraft.
NASA is working to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis. SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, and commercial human landing systems. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single mission. Through Artemis, NASA will explore more of the lunar surface than ever before and prepare for the next giant leap: sending astronauts to Mars.
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Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.