Boeing has wrapped up a critical design review for the exploration upper stage of a rocket built in support of NASA's Artemis I mission, and will now begin its transition to hardware build phase.
The company said Monday the milestone marks the continued development of the Space Launch System's EUS, with Boeing having started fabrication efforts in support of the initial exploration upper stage production at the space agency's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
Designed to work with the SLS Block 1B variant, the EUS will house four RL-10 engines and large fuel tanks to ferry the Orion spacecraft with four crew members and over 10 metric tons of cargo to the moon or other deep space destinations.
"EUS was designed for crewed flights from the beginning, and the additional lift capability that comes with the EUS requires fewer flights to enable a sustained human presence in deep space sooner and more safely," said Steve Snell, EUS program manager at Boeing.
SLS will employ a staged approach to bring Orion, supplies and astronauts to the lunar surface as part of the Artemis I program.
The system's Block 1 variant will execute an unmanned Orion launch with the use of an interim cryogenic propulsion stage manufactured by United Launch Alliance and Boeing for a test flight to the moon