Artist concept shows NASA's Space Launch System rising from a launchpad.
Artist Concept, Space Launch System, 130-Metric-Ton Configuration

This artist concept shows the 70-metric-ton configuration of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) during launch.America’s new heavy-lift rocket will be the largest launch vehicle ever built and more powerful than the Saturn V rocket that carried Apollo astronauts to the moon. The 130-metric-ton-configuration (143 tons) will lift more than 286,000 pounds and provide 20 percent more thrust than the Saturn V. The first SLS mission — Exploration Mission 1 — in 2017 will launch an uncrewed Orion spacecraft to demonstrate the integrated system performance of the SLS rocket and spacecraft prior to a crewed flight.

Image credit: NASA/MSFC

(Concept updated July 30, 2013)

Page Last Updated: August 16th, 2013
Page Editor: Brooke Boen