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10/02/2020 – Ephemeris – The rocket that will take NASA crews to the Moon

October 2, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, October 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 7:20, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:43. The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 8:05 this evening.

While we’re looking at the nearly full Moon tonight lets look at the rocket that will take crews to the Moon or as NASA says first woman and next man to the Moon in the Artemis program. It’s called the Space Launch System or SLS, which has been in development for a very long time. The core stage looks the color of the Space Shuttle main tank, because it uses the same insulation. At its bottom are four shuttle main engines. These will not be reused. Strapped to the sides will be two shuttle derived solid rocket boosters or SRBs, with 5 segments, rather than 4, and are upgraded for extra thrust. These will also be discarded, rather than reused. The second stage now is an interim stage to be replaced after a few flights with a more powerful stage. To top it off will be the service module and Orion capsule with an escape tower.

The event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Space Launch System Block 1b

The Block 1b version of the Space Launch System (SLS) which uses elongated Space Shuttle boosters and a core stage with 4 Space Shuttle main engines for the first stage. At lift-off the core stage and the boosters will ignite. The boosters will burn for two minutes and 6 seconds 7,2000,000 pounds  (32,000 kN) of thrust. The core stage contributes 1,670,000 pounds  (7,440 kN) of thrust and will burn for 8 minutes, nearly achieving orbit. The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage and later the Exploration Upper Stage will place the payload first into orbit, and then to send it to the Moon, or interplanetary destination. Credit NASA.

Note that the rocket configuration does not contain a lunar lander craft like the Saturn V of Apollo. The lander, a commercially developed craft will be sent up before the astronauts by a commercial company like SpaceX or Blue Origin and be waiting in lunar orbit or at the Lunar Gateway satellite.