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NASA Announces SLS Rocket Upgrades

SLS Block 1B

NASA Announces SLS Rocket Upgrades

A more powerful version of the Space Launch System rocket for future Artemis missions is in store for NASA.

The SLS Block 1B uses the same core stage and solid rocket as the original SLS but features a more powerful second stage called the exploration upper stage. The EUS, which replaces the interim cryogenic propulsion stage, can provide up to eight hours of boost in space, a 300 percent increase from the interim cryogenic propulsion stage used in the first three Artemis missions.

NASA will also add a universal stage adapter that connects the SLS to the Orion spacecraft. The adapter offers over 10,000 cu-ft of space for large components, such as the Gateway outpost.

Initial manufacturing for the SLS Block 1B is underway at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, NASA said Tuesday.

The Block 1B announcement came nearly a week after NASA concluded a full-duration hot fire test for the RS-25 engine used to power the the SLS. During the test, operators fired the RS-25 engine for 10 minutes to see how it would perform within and beyond the operating range.

It also came after NASA evaluated RS-25 upgrades in January, where operators fired the engine to test hydraulic actuators, a new nozzle and other upgraded components.

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Category: Space

Tags: Artemis mission NASA rocket upgrade SLS Block 1B space Space Launch System