NASA and Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage prime contractor Boeing are making progress building their first vehicle, learning how to put it together and rewriting the assembly instructions on the fly.
The major elements of Core Stage-1 (CS-1) and its companion structural test articles (STA) are being built up in work areas at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans. Not far from each other, work to cover the outside of the flight propellant tanks with their thermal protection system (TPS) is going on in parallel with efforts to outfit the inside of the other multi-story tall structures with all the parts, plumbing, and wiring needed prior to being connected together.
The engine section is still the critical path for completion and remains the biggest challenge, with most of the parts, propellant lines, and wiring going into it. Work is now going on around the clock to finish the stage for delivery by the end of the year or early 2019.
Two test articles down, two to go:
In order to certify that the Core Stage is ready to fly for the first time, a nearly complete second set of Core Stage structural test articles (STA) was manufactured ...