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Sat, May 20, 2017

NASA Barge Pegasus Docked In Alabama

Brought SLS Components From New Orleans To Marshall Space Flight Center

The barge Pegasus, carrying a structural test version of the massive SLS rocket's engine section, arrived at the Marshall Space Flight Center on May 15 after a 1,240-mile voyage from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The barge left Michoud on April 28. The delivery -- the first of major SLS hardware from Michoud to Marshall -- marks a critical milestone toward the first integrated flight of the SLS rocket and NASA's Orion spacecraft, and a step closer to sending humans to deep space destinations, including Mars.

NASA modified Pegasus to accommodate the SLS rocket's core stage, increasing the barge's length and weight-carrying capacity. The SLS rocket's core stage is 50 feet longer than the space shuttle external tank.

The first of four core stage test articles manufactured at Michoud scheduled to be delivered to Marshall for testing, the engine section will house four RS-25 engines and connect the core stage to the SLS rocket's two solid rocket motors. The structural qualification test article was designed with the same specifications as the engine section that will fly on first integrated flight of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft.

At Marshall, the test articles will undergo extensive testing. Engineers will push, pull, and bend the hardware to ensure it can withstand the extreme forces the rocket will experience during launch, liftoff and flight. The tests along with analytical models and other data will show that the design of the engine section is structurally sound. In the future media will have the opportunity to tour the engine section test stand and view the engine section structural test article that Pegasus delivered.

(Images provided with NASA news release)

FMI: go.nasa.gov/2opxZE2

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