NASA has kicked off its use of specialized transporters built by Wheelift to transport the core stage and test articles of the Space Launch System to various agency centers for tests.
The space agency said Tuesday the mobile platforms are designed to carry the 212-foot SLS core stage, the largest part of the SLS rocket built to send humans to space on-board the Orion spacecraft.
“This transportation system will work for many generations of rockets, safely moving valuable space hardware needed for NASA's boldest missions,” said Chris Bramon, SLS operations disciplines lead engineer in the mission operations laboratory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
The transporters were delivered to NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans during the summer and were named Elpis, Novus, Pandora and Aegis through a company-hosted contest.
“The delivery and testing of the transporters mark several years of hard work by engineers at Marshall and Wheelift designing transporters that can move critical spaceflight hardware,“ said Greg Parrish, Marshall's project manager for the transporters.
“Right now, we are in the process of checking them out by testing them with simulated hardware to assure they work properly and safely,” added Parrish.
SLS test articles will transport from Michoud to Marshall and the flight article will transfer to NASA's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.