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Final Space Launch System rocket engine in place

The final engine has been installed on NASA’s Space Launch System, a major milestone for the Artemis I mission that will take human beings back to the Moon and, eventually, Mars.

According to Boeing, which is the primary contractor for designing, developing and producing the SLS, the core stage with all four rocket engines attached (pictured above) is the largest rocket stage built since the Saturn V.

Development of the SLS is managed out of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, while assembly of the rocket stages is taking place at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

The core stage, which includes two large propellant tanks, will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust. NASA’s Artemis I mission is scheduled to send men and women back to the moon by 2024 and provide for sustainable space exploration in 2028 and beyond. NASA’s Artemis Moon missions are designed to be a stepping stone for sending humans to the surface of Mars.

After assembly is complete, crews will conduct an integrated functional test of flight computers, avionics and electrical systems that run throughout the 212-foot-tall core stage in preparation for its completion later this year. This testing is the first time all the flight avionics systems will be tested together to ensure the systems communicate with each other and will perform properly to control the rocket’s flight.

Learn more about the Artemis missions at

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