Boeing Rolls Out Core Stage Of NASA's First Space Launch System

Boeing Co. (BA) said it has delivered the core stage of NASA's first Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket, which is designed to carry people and cargo into deep space. The core stage was moved earlier this week out of the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and loaded onto the agency's Pegasus barge. Boeing noted that it was the first time a completed rocket stage was shipped out of the Michoud facility since the end of the Apollo program. The SLS Core Stage 1 is the largest single rocket stage ever built by NASA and its industry partners. The new rocket will carry astronauts and cargo to the moon, Mars, and beyond as part of the agency's Artemis program. With the Artemis program, NASA plans to land "the first woman and next man" on the Moon by 2024. According to Boeing, the core stage will be transported by the Pegasus barge in the next few days to NASA's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for the "Green Run" hot-fire engine tests later this year. The "Green Run" series is a comprehensive test campaign to verify if the core stage design is ready for launch and is the final test campaign ahead of NASA's first Artemis launch. Boeing noted that after inspection and refurbishing for launch, the core stage will be moved to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will then be integrated with the Interim Cryogenic Upper Stage and NASA's Orion spacecraft for the uncrewed Artemis I mission around the moon. This will be the first launch of a human-rated spacecraft to the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.