Propulsion stage unveiled for Artemis III mission

Teams from Boeing partner United Launch Alliance prep Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage for delivery.

August 01, 2023 in Space

With the excitement of last year’s Artemis I launch still lingering, Boeing continues to produce hardware and equipment in preparation for future Artemis missions.

  The third Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage The third Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage suspends in the ULA facility in Decatur, Alabama, as it prepares to be boxed for shipment to Florida. NASA photo

Today, United Launch Alliance (ULA) unveiled the third Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, or ICPS-3, which will serve as the upper stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for the Artemis III mission. The ICPS provides the in-space propulsion needed to boost the crew capsule on the proper path to the moon. Boeing is contracted by NASA for the design and build of ICPS hardware, with ULA in Decatur, Alabama, sub-contractor for the work.

ICPS-3 starts its journey by truck ULA teammates in Decatur, Alabama, load ICPS-3 into the “RocketShip” that will carry the hardware on its 2,000 mile (3,219 kilometer) journey. Boeing photo

This week, ICPS-3 will take the eight to 10-day journey traveling over 2,000 miles (about 3,219 kilometers) via barge to ULA’s sister facility in Florida near Kennedy Space Center where it will await final testing.

  David Dutcher, Boeing vice president of the Space Launch System program David Dutcher, Boeing vice president of the Space Launch System program, provides remarks to local media and local government officials as NASA, ULA and Boeing unveil ICPS-3 for the Artemis III mission. Boeing photo

“This is another significant milestone in the journey towards future Artemis missions,” reflected David Dutcher, vice president of the Space Launch System program at Boeing. “Every milestone is a step towards the Artemis objectives of not only returning humankind to the moon for the first time in over 50 years, but to also establish a sustainable presence for habitation on and exploration of the lunar surface. The objectives are monumental, so each milestone along the journey should be celebrated!”

Visit the ULA blog & NASA blog to learn more about ULA’s work with ICPS and the delivery of ICPS-3.


NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket – the nation’s next-generation, human-rated rocket – will enable NASA’s Artemis program and will carry people and cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond. Boeing was selected by NASA to design, develop, test and produce the core stages, upper stages, and avionics suite for the SLS fleet of rockets. The first SLS rocket – featuring the Boeing-built Core Stage – successfully launched at 1:47 AM ET on November 16, 2022, as part of the Artemis I Mission. Production is currently underway for the Boeing-built core stages, upper stages (including Exploration Upper Stage) and avionics for future Artemis missions.