Space Launch System 17-story twin solid rocket boosters stacked at Kennedy Space Center

Boosters awaiting arrival of core stage

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – The first solid rocket boosters stacked inside NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building since the space shuttle are on a mission to the moon.

The completely stacked, 17-story solid rocket boosters of the Space Launch System rocket now await the arrival of the SLS’s core stage, which will be integrated between the boosters.

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The SLS rocket will use some of the same segments of Space Shuttle SRBs.

“Some of them have supported Space Shuttle flights, some of them were test articles and we’ve got some new ones,” VAB Operations Chief Tony Dees said.

Next month, NASA plans to ship the backbone of the rocket, the 212-foot tall core stage, from Mississippi, where last week’s Green Run engine test is being called a success.

Senior Vehicle Operations Manager Cliff Lanham said the core stage is the last piece of flight hardware for the Artemis I mission yet to arrive at KSC.

The core stage, upper stage of the rocket and the Orion capsule will be stacked to a height twice as tall at the 17-story SRBs.

Then, Lanham said, the integrated, most powerful rocket ever could roll out to pad 39B as early as August.

NASA still says the first SLS launch, the uncrewed mission around the moon, could happen before the end of the year.

“Being first-time operations here with this vehicle, we will be looking to learn as we go, so there will be some risks to our schedule in terms of getting to the launch date,” Lanham said.

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