A total of 10 segments will form the twin solid rocket boosters before its first liftoff, which is expected to take place next year.
The rocket is a key part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program, which aims to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024. NASA officials also hope the SLS will be used to reach Mars and other “deep space destinations.”
Once fully assembled, NASA said the SLS rocket will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty and have about 15% more thrust at liftoff than the Saturn V rockets that powered the Apollo missions about 50 years ago, making it the most powerful rocket ever built.
“Stacking the first piece of the SLS rocket on the mobile launcher marks a major milestone for the Artemis Program,” said Andrew Shroble, an integrated operations flow manager with Jacobs, a company working with NASA on the Artemis program, in a NASA news release.
“It shows the mission is truly taking shape and will soon head to the launch pad.”
Artemis is named after the Greek goddess of the moon and is twin sister of Apollo.