Top NASA official gets look at next moon rocket

Top NASA official gets look at next moon rocket
An employee walks out from the core stage of the Space Launch System, which will power the Artemis 1 lunar mission, as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstinein tours the NASA Michaud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NASA's top official says the rocket expected to power the next mission to the moon is about 90 percent complete.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine spoke during a visit Thursday to a facility in New Orleans where the core stage is being built.

The 212-foot-tall (65-meter-tall) core stage is made up of two liquid propellant tanks and four RS-25 engines.

In the months to come, the engine section will be attached to the rest of the core section. If all goes well, it will power the Artemis 1 in 2020.

Plans call for the rocket to carry a crewless Orion capsule in a double loop around the during 25½ days in flight.

Future missions are expected to carry U.S. astronauts, including the first female astronaut to land on the moon.

  • Top NASA official gets look at next moon rocket
    NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talks to reporters in front of the core stage of the Space Launch System, which will power the Artemis 1 lunar mission, as he visits the NASA Michaud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
  • Top NASA official gets look at next moon rocket
    NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talks to reporters in front of the core stage of the Space Launch System, which will power the Artemis 1 lunar mission, as he visits the NASA Michaud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
  • Top NASA official gets look at next moon rocket
    People walk in front of the core stage of the Space Launch System, which will power the Artemis 1 lunar mission, as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstinein tours the NASA Michaud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
  • Top NASA official gets look at next moon rocket
    NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talks to reporters in front of the core stage of the Space Launch System, which will power the Artemis 1 lunar mission, as he visits the NASA Michaud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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