Boeing

              Space Launch System

              Space Launch System

              NASA’s Space Launch System is the backbone for a permanent human presence in deep space, for multiple missions to the moon and eventually to Mars and beyond.

              Building the Future of Human Spaceflight Beyond Earth

              NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) provides a critical heavy-lift capability built to rigorous human-rated safety standards to carry people and cargo back to the moon – this time to stay – and on to Mars.

              SLS will launch larger payloads farther in our solar system, faster than ever before possible. It will be the most powerful rocket ever built, enabling diverse exploration, science and security missions. SLS is also the world’s only super heavy rocket capable of safely transporting astronauts to deep space with major payloads like landers, habitats and Gateway elements.

              Boeing is the prime contractor for the design, development, test and production of the launch vehicle core stage, as well as development of the flight avionics suite.

              Core Stage 101

              Core Stage Infographic

              Missions

              The first test flight, Artemis I, will carry an uncrewed Orion space capsule to the moon to test the performance of the integrated system. SLS also will carry 13 small satellites, each about the size of a shoebox, that will be deployed in deep space.

              Additional missions are planned with this configuration as the even more powerful Block 1B version of the rocket is designed and built. This follow-on, evolved two-stage configuration will provide a lift capability of more than 105 metric tons, using the Boeing-built Exploration Upper Stage. Boeing has delivered flight hardware for the first Artemis mission and is producing flight hardware for both the second and third missions.

              Artemis I Infographic

              Videos

              Feature Stories

              Engine-eering: Artemis I SLS core stage completes Green Run test 5

              Engine-eering: Artemis I SLS core stage completes Green Run test 5

              September 15, 2020 in Space

              Test 5 of 8 checks ability to steer moon rocket’s 4 RS-25 engines.

              Learn More
              Four Good: 1st SLS core stage completes Green Run test 4

              Four Good: 1st SLS core stage completes Green Run test 4

              August 14, 2020 in Space, Technology

              Test of main propulsion system components continues Artemis I stage’s progress toward hot-fire.

              Learn More
              The test team oversaw avionics power-on of the first SLS core stage at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

              Boeing and NASA Power Up Space Launch System Core Stage for Green Run

              July 1, 2020 in Space, Technology

              Test teams have turned on NASA’s SLS core stage in flight configuration with the stage controller for the first time at Stennis Space Center.

              Learn More
              Artemis I rocket successfully completes structural testing

              Artemis I rocket successfully completes structural testing

              June 26, 2020 in Space

              The final pressure test of a Space Launch System liquid oxygen tank this week completed the SLS core stage structural qualification test campaign.

              Learn More
              Tuning up for Green Run

              Tuning up for Green Run

              April 28, 2020 in Space

              Boeing and NASA Space Launch System teams have completed a rigorous avionics review so the program will be prepared to resume testing of the first SLS core stage when NASA reopens Stennis Space Center.

              Learn More
              Building a Core Capability for NASA

              Building a Core Capability for NASA

              April 6, 2020 in Space

              At Michoud Assembly Facility, all elements of the SLS core stage for the crewed Artemis II lunar mission have been welded and built, and the third core stage was being fabricated before a suspension of operations in response to COVID-19.

              Learn More
              Space Launch System gets green light for green run

              Space Launch System gets green light for green run

              March 3, 2020 in Space

              Boeing and NASA test team members send shock waves through the 212-foot SLS core stage to confirm engineering models and pave the way for hot-fire testing later this year.

              Learn More
               Artemis I Core Stage Prepped for Dress Rehearsal

              Artemis I Core Stage Prepped for Dress Rehearsal

              January 24, 2020 in Space

              NASA and Boeing prepare for a giant leap toward returning humans to the moon and beyond. NASA will use flight hardware for its initial test of the SLS core stage.

              Learn More
              First NASA Space Launch System Core Stage Rolls Out

              First NASA Space Launch System Core Stage Rolls Out

              January 13, 2020 in Space

              Boeing completes and delivers first Space Launch System core stage, the next step toward NASA’s Artemis I mission to lunar orbit.

              Learn More
              Engines Installed on Space Launch System Artemis I Rocket

              Engines Installed on Space Launch System Artemis I Rocket

              November 12, 2019 in Space

              Boeing team begins integrated testing of core stage structure.

              Learn More
              Boeing Begins Engine Install on SLS Core Stage

              Boeing Begins Engine Install on SLS Core Stage

              October 23, 2019 in Space

              Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne technicians are installing the four powerful RS-25 engines modified for the Space Launch System at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, while ramping up to support the full core stage hot fire testing at Stennis Space Center next year.

              Learn More
              Fresh ideas from the factory floor

              Fresh ideas from the factory floor

              October 10, 2019 in Space

              Innovation is built into the Space Launch System from the ground up, as technicians and engineers work together to improve the rocket by incorporating ideas from the shop floor into future design and build plans, making each rocket core stage come together faster, and more efficiently.

              Learn More
              Space Launch System Core Stage Structure Complete

              Space Launch System Core Stage Structure Complete

              October 1, 2019 in Space

              Boeing teams in New Orleans connected the first Space Launch System (SLS) engine section to the rest of the rocket’s core stage.

              Learn More
              SLS Engine Section Complete; Prepares for Join

              SLS Engine Section Complete; Prepares for Join

              September 10, 2019 in Space

              Production of the first Space Launch System core stage approaches final join as teams prep the engine section using new tooling and a new maneuver.

              Learn More
              Testing the Limits

              Testing the Limits

              August 27, 2019 in Space

              Space Launch System liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks undergo testing at Marshall Space Flight Center to ensure the rocket can withstand launch and ascent.

              Learn More
              More than a Rocket

              More than a Rocket

              August 8, 2019 in Space

              As Boeing prepares for final element join on the first Space Launch System core stage, the second core stage of the advanced launch system is underway, and the design of a powerful Exploration Upper Stage is taking shape.

              Learn More
              Full Throttle for Rocket Production

              Full Throttle for Rocket Production

              May 31, 2019 in Space

              The second of three major joins that make up the Space Launch System core stage is underway in New Orleans, taking America a giant leap closer to launching NASA’s Artemis missions.

              Learn More
              Stacking NASA’s Giant Rocket

              Stacking NASA’s Giant Rocket

              February 7, 2019 in Space

              Boeing employees at NASA’s Michoud facility complete a forward join on the SLS rocket core stage.

              Learn More
              Rocket testing lifts off at NASA Marshall

              Rocket testing lifts off at NASA Marshall

              January 23, 2019 in Space

              The liquid hydrogen tank for Space Launch System is lifted in place in preparation for testing.

              Learn More
              Committed to the Core

              Committed to the Core

              August 6, 2018 in Space

              Testing, installation and integration of the Space Launch System core stage is underway.

              Learn More
              Monumental Journey

              Monumental Journey

              December 2, 2016 in Space

              Space Launch System employees move closer to completing core stage of world’s most powerful rocket.

              Learn More
              Far Out

              Far Out

              February 3, 2014 in Space

              Boeing's next big adventures into deep space ride with new super rocket.

              Learn More
              The Path to Mars: Deep Space Mission

              The Path to Mars: Deep Space Mission

              December 4, 2014 in Innovation, Space

              NASA is setting its eyes on the exploration of Mars, an over two year-long journey that will make history. Today's children will be the first explorers of our neighboring planet with help from Boeing technology to discover ground humans humans have yet to see.

              Learn More
              The Rocket Makers

              The Rocket Makers

              November 19, 2014 in Space

              With cutting-edge technology, Boeing employees once again are helping build a mighty rocket.

              Learn More
              Space Launch System

              38 Stories of Power

              November 13, 2014 in Innovation, Space

              With cutting-edge technology, Boeing employees once again are helping build a mighty rocket.

              Learn More
              Aerospace's largest tool unveiled

              Aerospace's largest tool unveiled

              September 22, 2014 in Space

              Take a ride on the new Space Launch System built by Boeing and ignite your human spirit.

              Learn More
              Tanks for a great idea

              Tanks for a great idea

              March 18, 2014 in Space, Technology

              Boeing has designed and built two composite liquid-hydrogen fuel tanks for heavy-lift launch vehicles that will propel future air and space missions.

              Learn More
              Boeing prepares to build the biggest rocket

              Building the Biggest Rocket with the Biggest Tools

              June 28, 2013 in Space

              Boeing has designed and built two composite liquid-hydrogen fuel tanks for heavy-lift launch vehicles that will propel future air and space missions.

              Learn More

              Space Launch System Customer

              U.S. Flag

              NASA is Boeing's customer for the Space Launch System, the largest rocket ever built, which will take humans and crew well beyond low-Earth orbit and into deep space.

              The Boeing SLS Program is managed out of the company’s Space and Launch division in Huntsville, Ala., and employs Boeing’s workforce in Huntsville, at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, and at other Boeing sites and with suppliers across the country. The Boeing Exploration Launch Systems office supports NASA on strategy and policy for Space Exploration programs procured by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

              Technical Specifications

              Stage Core Stage Block 1 Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage Block 1B Exploration Upper Stage
              Length 212 ft (64.6 m) 38.0 ft (11.58 m) 57.6 ft (11.5 m)
              Diameter 27.6 ft (8.4 m) 16.4 ft (5.0 m) 27.6 ft (8.4 m)
              Propellant Weight 2,175,423 lbs 63,206 lbs 278,000 lbs
              Empty Weight 188,000 lbs 7,700 lbs 33,156 lbs
              Material Aluminum 2219 Aluminum Aluminum
              Engines 4 RS-25 1 RL 10-C1 4 RL-10
              Thrust per Engine 512,000 lbf 24,854 lbf 24,340 lbf
              Total Thrust at Max Power 2.2 million lbf (1.09%) 24,854 lbf (1.00%) 97,360 lbf (1.00%)
              Fuel Liquid Hydrogen Liquid Hydrogen Liquid Hydrogen
              Oxidizer Liquid Oxygen Liquid Oxygen Liquid Oxygen

              Space Launch System Quick Facts

              • Designed to be flexible and evolvable for crew or cargo missions
              • Safe, affordable and sustainable to advance America’s exploration of space
              • Three capabilities: 95 metric tons, 105 metric tons and 130 metric tons of payload capacity to low Earth orbit
              • The 130 metric tons of capacity would take 22 fully grown elephants into orbit
              • The 95 and 105 metric ton configurations have 8.8 million pounds of thrust, equal to the horsepower produced in 160,000 Corvette engines, or 13,400 locomotive engines
              • The 130 metric ton configuration has 11.9 million pounds of thrust, equal to the horsepower produced in 208,000 Corvette engines, or 17,400 locomotive engines
              • Each solid rocket booster burns 5 tons of propellant per second
              • The power generated from four RS-25 engines on the SLS equals the output of 12 Hoover Dams

              Watch U.S. Fly

              Want to learn more about SLS and its role in Boeing's space exploration business? Visit Watch U.S. Fly for more information.

              久草影院