The Space Launch System Program completed a combined System Requirements Review and System Definition Review, which set requirements of the overall launch vehicle system, meaning SLS moves to its preliminary design phase, the agency reported.
The review set technical, performance, cost and schedule requirements to provide on-time development of the heavy-lift rocket.
The SLS is intended to launch NASA's Orion spacecraft and other payloads and provide the capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.
This new heavy-lift launch vehicle will make it possible for explorers to reach beyond our current limits, to nearby asteroids, Mars and its moons and to destinations even farther across our solar system," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington.
"The in-depth assessment confirmed the basic vehicle concepts of the SLS, allowing the team to move forward and start more detailed engineering design."
SLS reached the review milestone less than 10 months after the program's inception.
"This is a pivotal moment for this program and for NASA," SLS Program Manager Todd May said. "This has been a whirlwind experience from a design standpoint.