NASA's Space Launch System is a modern marvel that could revolutionize science.
It is utterly massive, and utterly spectacular: NASA has just completed welding on the largest piece of the core stage of the Space Launch System, the space agency’s newest rocket that will launch the Orion spacecraft in 2018 and eventually help send man to Mars.
In a Sept. 30 release, NASA announced the new development on the SLS, which stands at an incredible 130 feet tall at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The liquid hydrogen tank it has is hte largest cryogenic fuel tank for a rocket on the entire planet.
The tanks will hold 733,000 gallons of propellant, which will fuel the four RS-25 engines and create 2 million pounds of thrust, according to a NASA statement.
“Welding is complete on the largest piece of the core stage that will provide the fuel for the first flight of NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System, with the Orion spacecraft in 2018,” the NASA statement reads. “The core stage liquid hydrogen tank has completed welding on the Vertical Assembly Center at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Standing more than 130 feet tall, the liquid hydrogen tank is the largest cryogenic fuel tank for a rocket in the world. The liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank are part of the core stage — the “backbone” of the SLS rocket that will stand at more than 200 feet tall. Together, the tanks will hold 733,000 gallons of propellant and feed the vehicle’s four RS-25 engines to produce a total of 2 million pounds of thrust.”