NASA has completed the preliminary design review of the exploration upper stage for the Space Launch System rocket designed to bring the Orion spacecraft to deep space by 2021 as part of its first crewed flight mission.
“With the completion of this review, our teams will start developing components and materials for the EUS, and build up tooling,” Kent Chojnacki, EUS team lead and preliminary design review manager, said in a statement issued Saturday.
Chojnacki noted that NASA will start the full-scale production phase once the critical design review is finished.
The SLS vehicle's EUS will have four RL10C-3 engines, liquid hydrogen tank, liquid oxygen tank and a universal stage adapter that will link the EUS to the spacecraft and carry habitats and other payloads.
NASA conducted the preliminary assessment from Nov. 30 through Jan. 19 and collaborated with industry to evaluate at least 320 components on the EUS.
The space agency will build the rocket's EUS component at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and conduct the qualification test at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama prior to the “green run“ testing at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
NASA will initially test fire the EUS and its engines before it ships them to Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for its 2021 launch.