The pressure vessel is the primary structure for Orion’s crew module, joined together using state-of-the-art welding by technicians from lead contractor Lockheed Martin.
Both the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket are making progress towards Artemis missions to the Moon. With the spacecraft for the Artemis I and II missions manufactured as part of the design and development phase, the Artemis III pressure vessel is the first crew module structure off the line in the long-term production phase. Next, it will ship to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where teams will begin integration of Orion’s systems.
Orion, SLS, and the Exploration Ground Systems are foundational elements of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach. Artemis I will be the first integrated flight test of Orion and SLS and is targeted to launch later this year. Artemis II will follow as the first crewed mission, taking humans around the Moon and back to Earth to pave the way for future missions to the Gateway and the lunar surface aboard a commercial human landing system. Through Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, establish a long-term presence on the lunar surface, and prepare for human missions to Mars.
Image Credit: NASA/Eric Bordelon