At the end of July, NASA finished welding together the very firsst fuel tank for America’s Space Launch System (SLS) deep space rocket at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“We have just finished welding the first liquid hydrogen qualification tank article…and are in the middle of production welding of the first liquid hydrogen flight hardware tank [for SLS-1] in the big Vertical Assembly Center welder!” explained Patrick Whipps, NASA SLS Stages Element Manager.
“We are literally putting the SLS rocket hardware together here at last. All five elements to put the SLS stages together [at Michoud].”
This first fully welded SLS liquid hydrogen tank is known as a ‘qualification test article’ and it was assembled using basically the same components and processing procedures as an actual flight tank, explained Whipps.
Finishing its assembly after years of meticulous planning and hard work paves the path to enabling the maiden test launch of the SLS heavy lifter in the fall of 2018 from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.
“We will finish welding the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen flight tanks by September,” Whipps told Universe Today.
So…watch this *space*!