Back to the moon! The most powerful missile ever built is poised for the biggest explosion in history

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Back to the moon! The most powerful rocket ever built – with boosters higher than Nelson’s Column – is poised for the biggest explosion in history

  • NASA’s Space Launch System will produce up to 8.8 million pounds of thrust
  • Boosters larger than Nelson’s Column will be used to launch the Orion spacecraft
  • This will cause astronauts – including a woman for the first time – to land on the moon

With a height of 150 feet, these are the two boosters that will propel astronauts back to the moon for the first time in 50 years.

They are part of NASA’s Space Launch System – the most powerful rocket ever assembled.

The boosters are each larger than Nelson’s Column – which is 169 feet tall – and will be used to launch the Orion spacecraft.

This will allow astronauts – including a woman for the first time – to land on the lunar surface by 2024.

With a height of 150 feet, these are the two boosters that will propel astronauts back to the moon for the first time in 50 years

With a height of 150 feet, these are the two boosters that will propel astronauts back to the moon for the first time in 50 years

It is the first deep space rocket built for human travel since Saturn V, which was used in the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Space Launch System (SLS) will produce up to 8.8 million pounds of thrust – more than any other rocket in history – to build enough power to blow Orion out of low Earth orbit.

The orange aluminum core contains approximately half a million liters of liquid hydrogen and 200,000 liters of liquid oxygen to propel its crew and cargo.

The orange aluminum core contains approximately half a million liters of liquid hydrogen and 200,000 liters of liquid oxygen to propel its crew and cargo

The orange aluminum core contains approximately half a million liters of liquid hydrogen and 200,000 liters of liquid oxygen to propel its crew and cargo

The orange aluminum core contains approximately half a million liters of liquid hydrogen and 200,000 liters of liquid oxygen to propel its crew and cargo

The massive boosters, depicted in five segments at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will take just 126 seconds to help the spacecraft reach 17,500 mph on launch.

After most of the missile has broken down, it reaches a top speed of 24,500 mph.

Artemis I, the first mission for the SLS, will send Orion up without a crew, with subsequent missions hoping to bring astronauts to the lunar surface – and eventually, hopefully, to Mars.

It is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon on a single mission.

Last week, the rocket passed its all-important “green test” – firing all four engines at its central body at the same time for eight minutes, as it will when it launches into space.

Next month, that core will be laid on a massive ship called Pegasus and float 900 miles – the best way to transport large spacecraft components – from NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to the Kennedy Space Center.

The missile has cost $ 9.1 billion (£ 6.6 billion) to develop, manufacture and test to date. Each mission it ships is likely to cost between $ 1 billion and $ 2 billion (£ 730 million to £ 1.46 billion).

David Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University, said, “I really hope the Artemis landings will inspire today’s children, as I was inspired when the Apollo astronauts walked the moon.”

The boosters are each larger than Nelson's column, which is 169 feet high, and will be used to launch the Orion spacecraft

The boosters are each larger than Nelson's column, which is 169 feet high, and will be used to launch the Orion spacecraft

The boosters are each larger than Nelson’s Column – which is 169 feet long – and will be used to launch the Orion spacecraft

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