The first of NASA\’s enormous Space Launch System (SLS) rockets stands as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
Towering 212ft above the ground and flanked by its two smaller booster rockets, the core stage of the US space agency\’s next generation rocket has been photographed, for the first time, in its launch configuration ahead of its maiden voyage later this year.
Designed to carry astronauts to the Moon and beyond, this gargantuan launch vehicle will play an integral part in NASA\’s Artemis program which aims to place astronauts on the Moon before 2030.
The other key component will be the Orion capsule, which is capable of carrying six astronauts.
Both will be launched into space before the year is out as part of the Artemis-1 mission – a test flight designed to trial both the rocket and the capsule without anyone actually being on-board.
If all goes well, the first astronauts will fly into space as part of the 2023 Artemis-2 mission.
Artemis-3 will then follow, landing humans on the Moon for the first time in over 50 years.