Space Launch System

The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a planned by NASA launch vehicle family, whose first launch is scheduled for 2017 with the mission of EM-1. It builds on the Space Shuttle and the Saturn V developed technologies, but uses them in a modernized form.


The SLS uses two derived from the space shuttle solid rocket booster at the start. The booster will consist of five segments. The upper attachment points of the booster are located on the amplified intermediate structure between the two tanks of the first stage.

First stage

The first stage is 8.38 m diameter, which corresponds to the diameter of the external tank of the shuttle, and uses five RS-25D/E-Triebwerke derived from the Space Shuttle of the SSME. The tank for liquid hydrogen is located in the lower part of the step and for liquid oxygen above.

Advanced level

The upper level has the same diameter as the first stage and uses three derived from the Saturn V reignitable J -2X engines. You should be available from 2032. For the first two starts of the SLS (2017 and 2019-2021 ), NASA is still looking for an oxygen -hydrogen engine that can be used instead of the then not yet ready to use J- 2X.


The basic version of the rocket consists of only two boosters and the first stage. According to another source, this basic version has only three RS-25D/E-Triebwerke. About the first stage is located at the start with the MPCV Space Capsule (Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle), an elongated truncated cone on which in turn the spacecraft with its cylindrical service module and the actual capsule, completely analogous to Apollo, is located. This carries the rocket apparatus at their peak. This combination is composed of 98 meters high and weighs at startup about 2500 t. The payload capacity of the carrier is 70 t for a near-earth orbit ( LEO ).

Furthermore, the NASA shows also data for a stronger version. In this version, the first stage has five RS-25D/E-Triebwerke. This version has an additional upper stage and payload fairing, whose diameter is somewhat larger than that of the rocket. You should have and at launch weighs approximately 2950 tonnes a height of 122 m. The payload fairing receives as a double cone tip. The payload capacity is 130 t.

Future more powerful versions

For future, more powerful versions of the NASA wants to investigate by industry boosters with liquid fuel intended to replace the solid rocket boosters. Dynetics and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne want to apply with boosters that use the engine type F- 1, which was already used in the first stage of the Saturn V. The booster will have almost 5.5 m in diameter, are attached to the attachment points of the solid rocket boosters and 20 t allow more payload.

Used for spacecraft missions

The SLS is so powerful that it may be possible than ever to shoot the gas planets etc. larger and heavier spacecraft. One can do without missionsverlängernde swing-by maneuvers to increase speed sometimes even - that are necessary today even with lighter space probes.