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SLS (Block-1) iCPS (Orion 1) [NASA]

SLS (Block-1) iCPS (Cargo) [NASA]

SLS (Block-1B) EUS (Orion) [NASA]

SLS (Block-1B) EUS (Cargo) [NASA]

SLS (Block-2) [NASA]

The SLS (Space Launch System) is NASA's planned heavy lift rocket replacing the cancelled Ares-5 concept.

The SLS will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth's orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station.

The rocket concept is also called in-line SD-HLV (Shuttle derived - Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle) as it uses many parts of Shuttle heritage. It will consist of two 5-segmented solid rocket boosters (SRB) derived from the 4-segmented SRBs of the Shuttle. The core is also derived from the Shuttle 8.4 m diameter external tank and will be powered by versions of the Shuttle's SSME engines. Initially it will use RS-25D engines left over from the shuttle program, while later they will be replaced by expendable versions called RS-25E. The early developent flights will use three engines, while later versions can also use five engines for increased performance.

The initial flights will use the 5-segmented SRB, but for later versions, the boosters will be competed based on performance requirements and affordability considerations. Both Advanced Composite Boosters (ACBs) and Liquid Rocket Boosters (LRBs) were under consideration. In 2021 Northrop Grumman's BOLE (Booster Obsolescence and Life Extension) was selected. The new solid rocket motor design retains the form and fit of the current motor, but incorporates modern production technology, composite cases, and a new solid propellant formula.

The first flight will use an interim cryogenic upper stage (iCPS) derived from the 5 m version of the Delta-4 upper stage featuring the RL10B-2 engine. Later it was decided to use this version was also for the second and third flight.

Later flights will use the EUS upper stage, which is powered by four RL10C-3 engines.

On the later Block 2 version, an upper stage using the J-2X engine of Saturn-5 heritage was to be used for high energy missions, but was cancelled.

The first developmental flight of a SLS Block-1 iCPS version was targeted for late 2017, but was delayed several times to mid 2020 with further delays likely. The second and third flights will use also the same version. Later flights will use the upgraded SLS Block-1B EUS version.

Version Strap-On Stage 1 Stage 2
SLS (Block-1) 2 × RSRM-5 4 × RS-25D -
SLS (Block-1) iCPS 2 × RSRM-5 4 × RS-25D iCPS / RL10B-2
SLS (Block-1A) 2 × advanced Booster 4 × RS-25D/E -
SLS (Block-1A) EUS 2 × advanced Booster 4 × RS-25D/E EUS / 4 × RL10C-3
SLS (Block-1B) 2 × RSRM-5 4 × RS-25D/E -
SLS (Block-1B) EUS 2 × RSRM-5 4 × RS-25D/E EUS / 4 × RL10C-3
SLS (Block-2) EUS (J-2X) 2 × BOLE 4 or 5 × RS-25E Upper Stage / 2 × J-2X
SLS (Block-2) EUS 2 × BOLE 4 or 5 × RS-25E EUS / 4 × RL10C-3
Performance (kg) LEO LPEO SSO GTO GEO MolO IP
SLS (Block 1) 70000 - - - - -
SLS (Block 1) iCPS 27000
SLS (Block 1A) 105000 - - - - -
SLS (Block 1A) EUS
SLS (Block 1B) 105000 - - - - -
SLS (Block 1B) EUS 42000
SLS (Block 2) 130000
SLS (Block 2) EUS (J-2X) 130000
SLS (Block 2) EUS 130000 46000
No: TNo:  Serial:       Type:                   Fai  Date         LS           Payload

 1    1                 SLS (Block 1) iCPS           16.11.2022   CCK LC-39B   Artemis 1 (Orion CM-002) / BioSentinel / CuSP / LunaH-Map / Lunar-IceCube / NEA-Scout / LunIR /
                                                                               EQUULEUS / OMOTENASHI / ArgoMoon / Miles


 2    2                 SLS (Block 1) iCPS           xx.06.2024   CCK LC-39B   Artemis 2 (Orion CM-003)
 3    3                 SLS (Block 1) iCPS           xx.xx.2025   CCK LC-39B   Artemis 3 (Orion CM-004)
 x    x                 SLS (Block 1B) EUS           xx.xx.2027   CCK LC-39B   Artemis 4 (Orion CM-005) / I-HAB
 x    x                 SLS (Block 1B) EUS           xx.xx.2028   CCK LC-39B   Artemis 5 (Orion CM-006) / ESPRIT
 x    x                 SLS (Block 1B) EUS           xx.xx.202x   CCK LC-39B   Europa Lander ?
Launch sites:

CCK = NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA USA

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