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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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