The modern avionics system that will guide the most powerful rocket ever built was integrated and powered up for an inaugural run. When completed, the Space Launch System (SLS) will be capable of powering humans and potential science payloads to deep space. It has the greatest capacity of any launch system ever built, minimizing cost and risk of deep space journeys.
The Integrated Avionics Test Facilities team provided and installed the structure and simulation capability to model the environments the vehicle will experience during launch. With the avionics hardware units arranged in flight configuration on the structure and with the flight software, the facility will replicate what will actually fly the rocket.
Avionics and the flight computer will be housed in the SLS core stage. When completed, the core stage will be more than 200 feet tall and store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the vehicle's RS-25 engines. In late January, the team will start working on the entire avionics system operating together as one unit. In 2015, the avionics will be shipped to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the core stage is being manufactured, and integrated onto the actual rocket.