Slashdot reader ytene writes:
The BBC are showing the first set of images of NASA's now-assembled "Space Launch System" (SLS) vehicle, noting that NASA intends to use it to launch a human crew back to the moon later this decade. Testing will take place before astronauts are expected to ride the vehicle to space some time in 2023.
It's enormous. From the BBC's report:
On Friday, engineers at Florida's Kennedy Space Center finished lowering the 65m (212ft) -tall core stage in-between two smaller booster rockets... Nasa plans to launch the SLS on its maiden flight later this year. During this mission, known as Artemis-1, the SLS will carry Orion — America's next-generation crew vehicle — towards the Moon. However, no astronauts will be aboard...
The SLS consists of the giant core stage, which houses propellant tanks and four powerful engines, flanked by two 54m (177ft) -long solid rocket boosters.
In early 2020 the BBC reported that "Some in the space community believe it would be better to launch deep space missions on commercial rockets. But supporters of the programme say that NASA needs its own heavy-lift launch capability...
"The SLS was designed to re-use technology originally developed for the space shuttle programme, which ran from 1981-2011."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.