Over the past month Boeing assembled the top half of the first Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage in a vertical stacking cell at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans. The intertank, liquid oxygen (LOX) tank, and forward skirt were bolted together as the major part of the so-called “forward join” of the new rocket stage.
Final assembly of the stage involves first connecting its major elements into a top and bottom half before a final connection takes it out to over two-hundred feet in length with its engines installed. Once the Boeing production team at MAF finishes installation of remaining plumbing and wiring in the engine section, it will head into the other stacking cell at MAF to start assembly of the aft join.
As the first stage comes together, major construction of the second Core Stage is now beginning with propellant tank welding set to begin shortly.
Top half of the rocket assembled
“Forward join is structurally complete,” John Shannon, Boeing’s Vice President and Program Manager for SLS, said in a January 23 interview. Boeing is the prime contractor for the Core Stage.
“The LOX tank is sitting on top of the intertank and all of ...