The Space Launch System (SLS) is an American super heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle, which has been under development by NASA since its announcement in 2011.
- Type: Super heavy-lift launch vehicle.
- Origin : United states.
- In service : Currently in development planned first flight in November 2021.
- Mass : Block 1: 95 t (209,000 lb), Block 2: 130 t (290,000 lb) .
- Length/Height : 111.25 m (365.0 ft).
- Diameter : 8.4 m (28 ft), core stage.
- Payload to LEO : Block 1: 95 t (209,000 lb), Block 2: 130 t (290,000 lb) .
- Payload to TLI : Block 1: > 27 t (60,000 lb), Block 1B Crew: 38 t (83,700 lb), Block 1B Cargo: 42 t (92,500 lb), Block 2 Crew: > 43 t (94,700 lb), Block 2 Cargo: > 46 t (101,400 lb).
- Propellant: Boosters: PBAN, APCP. First stage/Second stage : LH2 / LOX.
- Engines: Boosters: 2 five-segment Solid Rocket Boosters with thrust of 29.2 MN (2,980 tf; 6,600,000 lbf) sea level ,32 MN (3,300 tf; 7,200,000 lbf) vacuum . First stage: 4 RS-25D/E with thrust of 9.1 MN (930 tf) vacuum. Second stage :(Block 1) 1 RL10B-2 engine with thrust of 110.1 kN (11.23 tf; 24,800 lbf). (Block 1B/2) 4 RL10C-3, later 4 RL10C-X engines with thrust of 440 kN (45 tf; 99,000 lbf)
The SLS is a Space Shuttle-derived launch vehicle, with the first stage of the rocket being powered by one central core stage and two outboard boosters. The upper stage is being developed from the Block 1 variant to a Block 1B and 2 variant, the Exploration Upper Stage.
It had been planned to become the primary launch vehicle of NASA's deep space exploration plans throughout the 2010s (now 2020s), including the planned crewed lunar flights of the Artemis program and a possible follow-on human mission to Mars.SLS is intended to replace the retired Space Shuttle as NASA's flagship vehicle.
The initial variant of SLS, Block 1, was required by the U.S. Congress to lift a payload of 70 t (69 long tons; 77 short tons) to low Earth orbit (LEO), but it was later planned to exceed that requirement with a rated payload capacity of 95 t (93 long tons; 105 short tons). As of 22 December 2019, this variant is planned to launch Artemis 1, Artemis 2, and Artemis 3. The later Block 1B is intended to debut the Exploration Upper Stage and launch the notional Artemis 4 through Artemis 7. Block 2 is planned to replace the initial Shuttle-derived boosters with advanced boosters and would have a LEO capability of more than 130 t (130 long tons; 140 short tons), again as required by Congress. Block 2 is intended to enable crewed launches to Mars.
The SLS is planned to launch the Orion spacecraft and use the ground operations and launch facilities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket will use the Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. The rocket's first launch is currently scheduled for 4 November 2021.