The Space Launch System (SLS) initiative could one day lead to sending men to Mars, or back to the Moon.
NASA has approved Boeing's initial designs for its SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, and the $2.8 billion project is now moving into the next phase of production.
The SLS project, which aims to produce the most powerful rocket ever constructed, has beyond-Earth travel in mind, as the rockets and designs crafted under the contract could be used to send man back to the Moon, or eventually to Mars.
Boeing met with NASA last week at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The meeting was the SLS project's Critical Design Review, which is essentially the first major critique and analysis of Boeing's rocket and avionics designs. "More than 3,000 core stage artifacts were reviewed by 11 individual technical discipline teams," said NASA in a press release. "'The SLS program team completed the core stage critical design review ahead of schedule and continues to make excellent progress towards delivering the rocket to the launch pad,' said SLS Program Manager Todd May. 'Our entire prime contractor and government team has been working full-steam on this program since its inception.'"
The SLS program appears to be running as smoothly as any government project not fueled by global conflict can be expected to run, although NASA will have some large rocket competiion in the future. SpaceX is working on its own large rocket platform to be used for the exact same purposes, pitting government work against the ever-rising promise of private space industry.