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ULA-built stage is set for Artemis III mission

DECATUR — The United Launch Alliance is playing a critical role in the upcoming Artemis III mission to place a crew on the moon.

However, before that can happen the newest piece of technology from ULA has to be transported.

The third Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS-3) was constructed in Decatur with the help of Boeing.

It was transported Monday to the loading dock at ULA’s facility in Decatur. From there, ULA’s R/S RocketShip will transport it with other flight-related hardware to ULA’s sister facility near the Kennedy Space Center.

“The ICPS is a key piece of hardware for NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, and with this shipment, NASA is another step closer to returning astronauts to the lunar surface under Artemis,” said Chris Calfee, deputy manager for the SLS spacecraft and payload integration and evolution office. “Together, NASA, ULA, and Boeing have produced a powerful and dynamic in-space propulsion stage that has laid the foundation for human exploration of deep space for decades to come.”

The ICPS and its single RL10 engine made by Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide in-space propulsion during Artemis III, firing to send astronauts inside the Orion spacecraft to the moon.

The Artemis III mission is currently scheduled for 2025. If a lunar landing is successful, NASA hopes to be the first to send humans to explore the lunar south pole.

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