SLS Papermodel -a Shuttle Legacy

The Space Launch System rocket (SLS) will be NASA’s next program that replaces the retired Space Shuttle. The SLS is a Space Shuttle derived heavy expendable launch vehicle that follows the cancellation of the Constellation program.
It will be the most powerful rocket ever built wth about 20% more thrust than the Saturn V and a comparable payload capacity, putting SLS into the Super heavy lift launch vehicle class.

NASA’s most current artist’s rendering of the SLS launching with Orion is shown here with its orange-brown tank and two 5-segment Solid Rocket Boosters with stylish gray and orange stripes.

My 1:144 model will be based on this drawing, which is the Block 1 configuration. On August 7, 2014 the SLS Block 1 passed a milestone known as Key Decision Point C and entered full scale development, with an estimated launch date of November 2018.

image NASA

The SLS is the legacy of the Shuttle program, so Shuttle stack parts were modified to design this model.

Solid Rocket Boosters
The Solid Rocket Boosters were modified with the addition of a 5th segment. To match the NASA drawings, the orange-gray stylish stripes were drawn. Also, the ET attachment ring was lowered from its original position.


Core Stage

The tank or Core Stage is based on the Shuttle’s External Tank. It has the same diameter of 27.6 feet, but compared to the Shuttle’s ET is 213 feet long.


Space Shuttle Main Engines
The Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25, also known as the Space Shuttle Main Engines, will be used on the SLS. The initial flights of the SLS will use modified RS-25D engines left over from the Shuttle program.
The current configuration of Block 1 is baselined with four RS-25 engines.



Upper Stage
The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), Launch Abort System (LAS) and the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage are part of the Upper Stage. All these parts are connected to the Core Stage via the Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter (LVSA).
The upper stage elements were tested during Delta IV Heavy launch of the EFT-1 mission on Dec 5, 2014. It was the first test flight of the Orion MPCV. Check here to learn more about the EFT-1 mission and download the model, too.
For this 1:144 scale model, I have not included the Orion nor the Cryogenic propulsion stage. These parts will be fully detailed for the 1:96 version which will be released at a later date.




Completing the model
Because this model was based on drawings, the details of the fuel lines are very sketchy. The main fuel lines at the front and back are similar to the Shuttle’s External tank, but other fuel lines on the back of the core stage are not well defined. Regardless, the model is complete and is considered a baseline model until new details are released.


image Side view of the vehicle

Details of the front and back of the vehicle

And here is the SLS side by side with the Space Shuttle for comparison. The Legacy of the Space Shuttle lives on SLS. This is the beginning of a new era, the Era of Space Exploration with Orion.



The 1:96 SLS version is now available. The model features detailed parts specially on the Solid Rocket Boosters and the SRB attachments. At 1:96 scale it is approximately 40 inches tall.
The Orion and Second Stage stack in 1:96 for the EM-1 mission will be released on a second post.



SLS side by side with the powerful Delta IV Heavy.

Download files:
The files include few pages that need to be printed on colored cardstock in order to save ink. The prototype model used for this presentation was done with special textured thick orange paper that I used for the Delta IV models. You can use any orange or brownish rusted color as it was used on the Shuttle models, too.

AXM-SLS144 SLS 1:144 scale

AXM-SLS96 SLS 1:96 scale Updated

SRBsWhite SRB’s no paint scheme (optional)

SLS-AXMInstructionManual-PDFOptim Instruction Manual (4.6 mb)

Second Part: Orion EM-1 Mission


26 responses to “SLS Papermodel -a Shuttle Legacy

  1. Pingback: SLS Papermodel | The Rocketry Blog·

  2. Wow! I was just thinking today: I haven’t visited AXM in awhile; I wonder when Alfonso is going to come out with a “properly-colored” SLS (we’ve known for awhile that the Saturn V-inspired paint scheme was NEVER going to fly!). And you just posted the above on the 13th!
    And you answered my next question before I asked it: will there be a 1/96 or 1/100 model? I can’t wait!
    I’m going to build mine with “Flame Fins” (like the Dr. Zooch model rockets) which slip-into the SRBs for flight, and launch it on composite rocket motors (somewhere in the E-G range, I should think)!
    I’ll probably build mine in the “I-B” configuration, with the “Exploration Upper Stage,” or whatever NASA is calling it these days. Shouldn’t be too hard of a modification.
    As always: eternal thanks, Alfonso, for your “gifts” to us monetarily-challenged, but “crafty,” spaceflight fans!

  3. You’re welcome my friend. I really wish this vehicle becomes a reality.
    The 1:96 version will be finished in the next two weeks.

  4. Thank you so much for finally making an updated model! I have been waiting to make an SLS model until you updated it, and my waiting has paid off! This model looks beautiful, and i know what i will be making once school is out this summer!
    Keep up the great work!

  5. I am sorry to be posting a second comment so quickly, but what is the width of the 1:144 model, and how tall is it?
    Thanks again!

  6. Can we get a version of the 1:96 version for people who don’t have colored cardstock? Thanks!

  7. Can you show a photo that compares the Delta IV heavy and the SLS (between 1:96 scale models of both)?
    Then there will be a comparison between the world’s largest and the future largest rocket of the world.

    • My favorite place is A.C.Moore arts & crafts store. The BAZZIL brand card stock has a nice Orange Tangelo color perfect for the Delta IV or SLS models.
      Other brand is “Core’dinations”. Look for the Desert Coral color (GX-CF-9R)

  8. Of course I have downloaded it. It is an awesome and super large model. I like that. I still am a bit sceptical about whether the SLS will become “operational” or that is will remain a one-off like the Ares-1 test vehicle. But it looks really good and as usual very tempting.
    I still haven’t got out of my creative impasse, I hope it will end soon, I would like to start a new project. If only I could find the energy…

  9. I am sorry to ask, but why have you built the core stage in arusted brown colour for the 1:96 scale model of the SLS if the photo shows an orange coloured core stage?

  10. Wow! Absolutely fantastic model. I have done the left SRB and I am starting the core, but I am absolutely shocked by the sheer size of this rocket. The SRB is almost the height of an entire Atlas V! WOW!! I recently have gotten into the AXM paper models, and I am absolutely hooked! I love all the great work you do! Thank you for all the work and effort you put into these models. The community loves your absolute devotion and perfectionism. I’ll buy the ISS once I finish my Falcon Heavy and SLS. I already have Delta IV PSP mission, so I cannot wait to get these heavy lifters done. Anyways, just wanted to thank you again, since 99.9% of your models are free.

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