Boeing employees remove a completed barrel section from the Vertical Weld Center (VWC) tool at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The barrel is the first to be completed on one of the largest pieces of the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage. The VWC tool was completed last month, and Boeing has been conducting friction stir welding tests to ensure quality and safety of flight hardware. NASA’s SLS will tower more than 200 feet tall, with a 27.6 foot diameter, storing cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to power the rocket. This barrel is just one section – 22 feet tall and is made of aluminum alloy. The section shown is for the liquid hydrogen tank, which is comprised of five such barrels and two end domes. This section will be used for further weld and core stage integration testing.

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