[meteorite-list] NASA'S Space Launch System Core Stage Passes Major Milestone, Ready to Start Construction

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 14:08:55 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201212212208.qBLM8t45010384_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

Dec. 21, 2012

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington
jbuck at nasa.gov

Kim Henry
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
kimberly.h.henry at nasa.gov

RELEASE: 12-440


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The team designing America's new flagship rocket
has completed successfully a major technical review of the vehicle's
core stage. NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) will take the agency's
Orion spacecraft and other payloads beyond low-Earth orbit, providing
a new capability for human exploration.

The core stage preliminary design review (PDR) was held Thursday at
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and included
representatives from the agency and The Boeing Co. Boeing's
Exploration Launch Systems in Huntsville is the prime contractor for
the core stage and its avionics. Marshall manages the SLS Program.

"Passing a preliminary design review within 12 months of bringing
Boeing on contract shows we are on track toward meeting a 2017 launch
date," said Tony Lavoie, manager of the SLS Stages Element at
Marshall. "We can now allow those time-critical areas of design to
move forward with initial fabrication and proceed toward the final
design phase -- culminating in a critical design review in 2014 --
with confidence."

The first flight test of the SLS, which will feature a configuration
for a 70-metric ton lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion
spacecraft beyond the moon, is scheduled for 2017. As the SLS
evolves, a two-stage launch vehicle using the core stage will provide
a lift capability of 130-metric tons to enable missions beyond
low-Earth orbit and to support deep space exploration.

The purpose of the PDR was to ensure the design met system
requirements within acceptable risk and fell within schedule and
budget constraints. An important part of the PDR was to prove the
core stage could integrate safely with other elements of the rocket's
main engines and solid rocket boosters, the crew capsule and the
launch facilities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Core
stage designers provided an in-depth assessment to a board of
engineers comprised of propulsion and design experts from across the
agency and the aerospace industry.

"Each individual element of this program has to be at the same level
of maturity before we can move the program as a whole to the next
step," SLS Program Manager Todd May said. "The core stage is the
rocket's central propulsion element and will be an optimized blend of
new and existing hardware design. We're building it with longer
tanks, longer feed lines and advanced manufacturing processes. We are
running ahead of schedule and will leverage that schedule margin to
ensure a safe and affordable rocket for our first flight in 2017."

The core stage will be built at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in
New Orleans using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. The plant
continues modifying its facilities and ordering materials for
construction of the rocket. Michoud has built components for NASA's
spacecraft for decades, most recently, the space shuttle's external

For more information about the Space Launch System, visit:


To join the online conversation about SLS on Twitter, follow
_at_NASA_SLS. To learn more about all the ways to connect and
collaborate with NASA, visit:


Received on Fri 21 Dec 2012 05:08:55 PM PST

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