Media are invited to tour two facilities at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, being readied for the Space Launch System structural tests. SLS is the world’s most powerful rocket for human space exploration, able to carry astronauts in the Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including our journey to Mars.

The tour will begin at 10 a.m. CDT, April 12, with a look inside the cavernous bays of Building 4619, where test structures are being modified to test the intertank and engine sections of the massive SLS core stage, which will be 212 feet tall and 27.6 feet in diameter.

At 11 a.m., tour participants will travel to Marshall’s West Test Area, where Test Stand 4693 is under construction, to see a “topping out” ceremony marking the placement of the final steel in the stand’s twin, 221-foot-tall towers. When the stand is completed, hydraulic cylinders will subject the SLS core stage’s super-cooled liquid hydrogen tank – the largest cryogenic fuel tank ever used in a rocket – to the same loads and stresses it will endure during launch and flight.

The ceremony will feature speakers representing Marshall, the SLS program and the construction partners involved in the test stand project. At approximately 11:30 a.m., a crane will “fly” a steel beam signed by Marshall team members into position to become a permanent part of the structure.

Media interested in attending should contact Jennifer Stanfield in the Marshall Public & Employee Communications Office at 256-544-0034 no later than 4 p.m., April 11. Media must report to the Redstone Arsenal Joint Visitor Control Center at Gate 9, Interstate 565 interchange at Research Park Boulevard, by 9:30 a.m., April 12. Vehicles are subject to a security search at the gate. News media will need photo identification and proof of car insurance.

For more information about NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, visit: