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NASA Continues Progress on Artemis III Rocket Adapter with Key Joint Installation
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NASA Continues Progress on Artemis III Rocket Adapter with Key Joint Installation
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Dec 05, 2023

In a significant advancement for NASA's Artemis III mission, engineers and technicians at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have recently achieved a major milestone. They have successfully installed a crucial component, the frangible joint assembly, onto the launch vehicle stage adapter of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. This development is pivotal for the Artemis III mission, which aims to return humans to the Moon, targeting the lunar south pole region.

The frangible joint assembly, positioned atop the adapter, serves as a vital separation mechanism. It is specifically designed to break apart upon command. This feature enables the upper part of the rocket, including NASA's Orion spacecraft and its crew, to quickly and safely separate from the SLS core stage and adapter. This mechanism's reliability is crucial, given that the Artemis III mission marks a significant step towards establishing a sustainable human presence on the Moon and serves as a precursor for future manned Mars missions.

Frangible joint technology is not new in the space industry. It has been a staple in both crewed and uncrewed spacecraft for efficient separation of fairings or stages during various phases of a space mission, including launch, ascent, orbit, and payload deployment. The use of such technology in the Artemis III mission underlines its importance in ensuring mission safety and efficiency.

It's noteworthy that the stage adapter employed for the Artemis III mission represents the last of its current design. Future iterations of the SLS rocket, starting with the Artemis IV mission, are expected to evolve into larger and more powerful configurations. This evolution reflects NASA's ongoing commitment to advancing space exploration technologies.

The assembly of the adapter was completed at the Marshall Space Flight Center by NASA in collaboration with its lead contractor, Teledyne Brown Engineering. Based in Huntsville, Teledyne Brown Engineering is a part of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE: TDY), a company recognized for its expertise in systems integration, technology development, and manufacturing. Their involvement in the Artemis III mission highlights the collaborative efforts between NASA and industry leaders to push the boundaries of space exploration.

The SLS, pivotal to the Artemis program, stands as NASA's most powerful rocket. Designed for deep space missions, it comprises a core stage, solid rocket boosters, and an upper stage. The integration of the frangible joint assembly into the SLS's stage adapter is a testament to the meticulous planning and technological prowess that goes into such ambitious space missions.

This latest development is more than just a technical milestone; it represents another step forward in humanity's quest to explore beyond our planet. As NASA continues to make progress on the Artemis III mission, each achievement brings us closer to a new era of lunar exploration and beyond.

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