Future Artemis Mission Upper Stage Propulsion System Achieves Important Milestone
The Artemis mission will send astronauts to the Moon
DECATUR, ALABAMA — As the Artemis I team prepares for its next mission, NASA and contractor teams are already building rockets to support future Artemis Moon missions.
At the United Launch Alliance (ULA) facility in Decatur, Alabama, major components were completed for the Artemis III Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) that will provide the power needed to send astronauts to the Moon.
The ICPS, which is being built by ULA in a collaborative partnership with Boeing, provides in-space propulsion for the Orion spacecraft after the solid rocket boosters and core stage put SLS into Earth orbit, and before the spaceship flies alone.
The liquid hydrogen tank (left) is built, and soon it will be mated to the intertank (right) which connects it to the liquid oxygen tank. The intertank is made up of composite material lattice structures in an X design.
The eight cylinders around the perimeter of the trusses store the helium used to pressurize the propellant tanks on the floor.
Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks provide propellant for a single RL10 engine built by Aerojet Rocketdyne in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The ICPS Artemis III will provide the great thrust needed to propel Orion to the Moon and send the crew on the first mission where humans will once again land on the lunar surface.