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Propulsion With the Space Launch System

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Cover of “Propulsion With the Space Launch System”



Grade Levels

Grades 5-8


Engineering Design, Mathematics, Space Science, Technology, Geometry, Solar System and Planets, Earth's Moon, Rocketry, Space Vehicles


Educator Guides, Lesson Plans / Activities

NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, is an advanced launch vehicle that provides the foundation for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. With its unprecedented power and capabilities, the SLS is the only rocket that can send the Orion spacecraft, astronauts, and large cargo to the Moon on a single mission. The SLS team is producing NASA’s first exploration-class rocket built since the Saturn V.

There are four standards-aligned activities to help students learn about rocketry and NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

With these activities, students will:

  • Design fins for a foam rocket to increase its stability.
  • Construct and use an altitude tracker and altitude calculator to estimate the height of a rocket at apogee (the highest point of the trajectory of the rocket).
  • Design and build a multistage balloon-powered rocket to demonstrate how rockets can achieve greater distances using the technology of staging.
  • Build an air-powered water rocket from a 2-liter soda bottle to find the optimal amount of water volume to air pressure for producing maximum thrust.

Next Generation Science Standards: MS-ESS2-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-LS2-1, MS-PS2-2, MS-PS2-4

Common Core State Standards: 6.G.A.2, 6.G.A.4, 6.RP.A.1, 7.G.B.6, 7.RP.A.2.A, 8.G.C.9, 8.EE.B.5

Propulsion With the Space Launch System

Propulsion With the Space Launch System (Spanish Version)

Section Links:
Introductory Pages
Activity One: Design a Foam Rocket With Stabilizing Fins
Activity Two: Track the Altitude of a Rocket
Activity Three: Build a Multistage Balloon Rocket
Activity Four: Optimize a Water Rocket Engine

This educator guide is part of the Next Gen STEM Moon series. Also in this series:
Crew Transportation With Orion
Propulsion With the Space Launch System
Habitation With Gateway
Landing Humans on the Moon
Hazards to Deep Space Astronauts
Deep Space Communications
Artemis Generation Spacesuits
Build, Launch, Recover