NASA engineers have finally found engines for the core of the first Space Launch System (SLS) lunar rocket, the fourth and final space shuttle-era engine. NASA hopes to build a path back to the moon using overweight launch vehicles and Orion spacecraft and other hardware before attempting a manned mission.
When completed, the SLS rocket will be NASA’s largest launch vehicle since the development of Saturn V, with two huge fuel tanks in the first stage of the SLS, one for storing liquid oxygen and one for storing liquid hydrogen, which together can store a staggering 730,000 gallons of fuel.
The fuel is supplied to four RS-25 engines, and the final RS-25 engine assembly will take place on November 6, and in New Orleans, NASA engineers at the Michoud assembly plant are working to connect electronic devices and core avionics to the new engine.
After successfully completing several space shuttle launches, the four traditional RS-25 engines will power the first SLS launch vehicle, and the engines will work together to deliver more than 2 million pounds of thrust. NASA hopes the engines will send astronauts back to the lunar surface by 2024 with the help of two large side-belt boosters and a superior thruster.