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 to be delivered in 2019, as well as development of the flight avionics suite.

              Missions

              The first test flight in 2020, Artemis 1, 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 currently is producing flight hardware for both the first and second SLS missions.

              Secondary Payload Infographic
              Download the SLS Artemis 1 infographic

              Videos

              Feature Stories

              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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              Far Out

              Far Out

              February 3, 2014 in Space

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

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              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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              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.

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