Workers at United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Decatur, Ala., will soon ship to Cape Canaveral the Boeing and ULA built second stage propulsion element that will fly on NASA’s Space Launch System’s first flight in 2018.
Called the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS), it is a modified Delta IV second stage, designed by Boeing to propel Orion beyond Earth’s orbit on the first integrated flight of SLS and Orion.
This test flight of SLS will lift the Orion capsule beyond Earth. The ICPS will provide the Trans Lunar Injection (TLI) burn to send Orion and the service module on its way to the moon.
Concurrently, Boeing is working on the second stage for the next SLS mission, EM-2, which will carry crew and cargo farther into deep space with a more powerful Exploration Upper Stage.