Space Launch System (SLS)

Overview

Space Launch Systems (SLS) NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) provides a critical heavy-lift capability powering people and cargo beyond our moon and into deep space. SLS launches 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.

From planetary science to astronomy investigations, the evolvable rocket provides a flexible, affordable pathway to discovery, advancing knowledge and improving life on Earth. In addition to enabling unprecedented robotic exploration of our solar system, SLS will launch the Orion-Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) ushering in a new era of human exploration beyond low Earth orbit (LEO). The heavy-lift rocket is capable of transporting crew and cargo beyond the moon, to asteroids and ultimately Mars. The first uncrewed SLS/Orion MPCV test flight is scheduled for 2017.

Boeing is the prime contractor for the design, development, test and production of the launch vehicle cryogenic stages, as well as development of the avionics suite. SLS uses a cryogenic rocket, leveraging liquefied gas stored at very low temperatures for optimal rocket efficiency. Boeing is designing the cryogenic stages concurrently to maximize the affordability of SLS rocket development and operations. The initial flight-test configuration will provide a 70 metric ton lift capacity while the final evolved two-stage configuration will provide a lift capability more than 130 metric tons.

SLS will ferry astronauts farther from Earth than we have ever trekked, while engaging the next generation of the U.S. aerospace workforce. The SLS Program is managed by Boeing Exploration Launch Systems in Huntsville, Ala. and employs Boeing’s Space Exploration workforce in Huntsville, New Orleans, Houston, Cleveland, Huntington Beach, Calif., El Segundo, Calif., and Titusville, Fla., along with suppliers across the country. The Exploration Launch System’s office supports NASA on strategy and policy on Space Exploration programs procured by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

To learn more about NASA's SLS:

  • Boeing marketing sheet (PDF)
  • NASA marketing piece (PDF)

For more information about SLS-enabled missions:

  • Boeing mission booklet (PDF)

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