Move crews at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility lift the aft liquid oxygen tank (LOX) barrel out of the Vertical Weld Center (VWC) for its next phase of production.
The aft barrel will eventually be mated with the forward barrel and the forward and aft domes to form the LOX tank, which will be used in the Space Launch System’s (SLS) Artemis IV mission. The LOX tank holds 196,000 gallons of super-cooled liquid oxygen to help fuel four RS-25 engines.

The SLS core stage is made up of five unique elements: the forward skirt, liquid oxygen tank, intertank, liquid hydrogen tank, and the engine section. The liquid oxygen hardware, along with the liquid hydrogen tank will provide propellant to the four RS-25 engines to produce more than two million pounds of thrust to help launch NASA’s Orion spacecraft, astronauts, and supplies beyond Earth’s orbit to the Moon.

Together with its four RS-25 engines, the rocket’s massive 212-foot-tall core stage — the largest stage NASA has ever built — and its twin solid rocket boosters will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust to send NASA’s Orion spacecraft, astronauts, and supplies beyond Earth’s orbit to the Moon and, ultimately, Mars.

Offering more payload mass, volume capability and energy to speed missions through space, the SLS rocket, along with NASA’s Gateway in lunar orbit, the Human Landing System, and Orion spacecraft, is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration and the Artemis lunar program. No other rocket is capable of carrying astronauts in Orion around the Moon in a single mission.

Photographed on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Image credit: NASA/Michael DeMocker NASA ID: MAF_20220510_CS4_LoxAftLift03 Larger image