July 11, 2014

NASA SLSAccording to a recent project update, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) has recently passed its Critical Design Review, proving the first new design for America's next rocket is mature enough for production following a series of hardware and embedded software testing and analysis.

Representatives from a number of NASA centers and The Boeing Company, the prime contractor for the SLS core stage, met June 30 and July 1 for the Critical Design Review board at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. More than 3,000 core stage artifacts were reviewed by 11 individual technical discipline teams.

Tony Lavoie, manager of the Stages Office at Marshall, was elated by the passing of the review, stating, “Completing the CDR is a huge accomplishment, as this is the first time a stage of a major NASA launch vehicle has passed a critical design review since the 1970s. In just 18 months since the Preliminary Design Review, we are ready to go forward from design to qualification production of flight hardware."

Now that the core stage has passed the CDR, components and actual flight hardware manufacturing has begun at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, while development and integration of flight computers and software continues at Marshall.

Hardware and embedded software testing during the development stages of NASA’s SLS likely played a large role in the passing of the Critical Design Review, which has sent the project into the production stage, bringing the possibility of sending humans to Mars closer than ever.

Photo Credit: NASA/MAF

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