NASA has started the production of the Space Launch System's core stage structures in preparation for the agency's Artemis II and III missions on the lunar surface.
Each core stage will house four RS-25 engines, two propellant tanks and cabling for the 5.5M-pound rocket's flight computers and avionics, NASA said Thursday.
Technicians at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have begun wiring and testing the deep space rocket's avionics systems. Meanwhile, the core stage structures for the Artemis III mission are being subjected to a friction stir welding process.
The team has also started incorporating feedlines, propulsion systems, electronics and other components into Artemis II's main core stage structures following its development.
NASA noted the rocket's first core stage is undergoing green run tests at the agency's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, while the engine section is currently built and assembled.
The agency seeks to allow human exploration of the Moon and Mars through the Artemis missions.