KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida – NASA’s massive Pegasus Barge arrived at the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf on Friday, September 27, 2019.
The 310-foot-long barge ferried a 212-foot-long Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage pathfinder mock-up.
Weighing in at 228,000 pounds, the pathfinder is a full-scale mock-up of the rocket’s core stage.
The pathfinder will be used by the Exploration Ground Systems Program and their contractor, Jacobs, to practice offloading, moving and stacking maneuvers, using important ground support equipment to train employees and certify all the equipment works properly.
— DNail (@DerrolNail) September 27, 2019
SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including missions to Mars.
The 212-foot-tall, 27.6-foot-diameter core stage includes the cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks that will feed four RS-25 rocket engines and also contains the vehicle’s avionics and flight computer.
The SLS core stage will be the longest item ever shipped by a NASA barge.
The pathfinder will stay at Kennedy Space Center for approximately one month before sailing back to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana.