Boeing has completed the manufacture and delivery of the core stage of Nasa’s first Space Launch System (SLS) deep space exploration rocket.

The rocket was rolled out of Nasa’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, US, and loaded to its Pegasus barge. It was delivered to Nasa’s Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi.

Later this year, the SLS core stage will be installed into the B-2 Test Stand, where it will undergo the Green Run test campaign.

The stage’s avionics and propulsion systems, including four RS-25 engines, will be tested during this phase.

Nasa deputy administrator Jim Morhard said: “Nasa’s Space Launch System core stage is part of the Artemis programme, which is a national asset.

“The SLS rocket was built to deliver American astronauts and maximum payloads to the Moon and deep space destinations. Rolling out the completed core stage from Nasa’s Michoud Assembly Facility to go on to Nasa’s Stennis Space Center for further testing is an exciting leap forward in the Artemis programme as Nasa teams make progress toward the launch pad.”

More than 1,100 companies across the US participated in the manufacture of the SLS rocket.

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The two propellant tanks of SLS have a combined capacity of 733,000gal of propellant to power the four Aerojet Rocketdyne-built RS-25 engines.

The SLS core stage is a crucial part of Nasa’s first three Artemis lunar missions.

In November 2019, Nasa completed building its Orion spacecraft, which was then transported for testing at Glenn Test Center in Plum Brook, Sandusky, US.