The core stage is the backbone of the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will help power NASA’s Artemis II mission to send a crew of four astronauts around the Moon in 2025. Here, the core stage is currently behind scaffolding to allow work to continue at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The stage’s two massive propellant tanks hold a collective 733,000 gallons of liquid propellant to power the four RS-25 engines at its base. Following hardware acceptance reviews and final checkouts, the stage will be readied for delivery via the agency’s Pegasus barge to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for Artemis II launch preparations. (NASA/ Eric Bordelon) NASA will roll the fully assembled core stage for the agency’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will launch the first crewed Artemis mission out of NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans in mid-July. The 212-foot-tall stage will be loaded on the agency’s Pegasus barge for delivery to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Media will have the opportunity to capture images and video, hear remarks from agency and industry leadership, and speak to subject matter experts with NASA and its Artemis industry partners as crews move the rocket stage to the Pegasus barge.

NASA will provide additional information on specific timing later, along with interview opportunities. This event is open to U.S. and international media. International media must apply by June 14. U.S. media must apply by July 3. The agency’s media credentialing policy is available online.  

Interested media must contact Corinne Beckinger at and Craig Betbeze at Registered media will receive a confirmation by email.

The rocket stage with its four RS-25 engines will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust to send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis II mission. Once at Kennedy, teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program will finish outfitting the stage and prepare it for stacking and launch. Artemis II is currently scheduled for launch in September 2025.

Building, assembling, and transporting the core stage is a collaborative process for NASA, Boeing, the core stage lead contractor, and lead RS-25 engines contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3 Harris Technologies company.

NASA is working to land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the Moon under the agency’s Artemis campaign. The SLS rocket is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, supporting ground systems, advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, and commercial human landing systems. The SLS rocket is the only rocket designed to send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single launch.

Learn more about NASA’s Artemis campaign:


Rachel Kraft
NASA Headquarters, Washington

Corinne Beckinger 
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. 

NASA Invites Media to Rollout Event for Artemis II Moon Rocket Stage