Boeing is the prime contractor for the Space Launch System and ATK is providing the five-segment solid rocket boosters.
ATK is processing the first hardware components for the boosters for an initial qualification test in 2013.
The SLS is designed for exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit and the moon, said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s human exploration operations missions directorate.
NASA said other program goals include missions to Mars, asteroids, Lagrange points and the moon.
Engineers evaluated the rocket’s core stage, the storage compartment for liquid hydrogen and oxygen for the SLS’ four RS-25 engines, the same engines used in the Space Shuttle program.
NASA will build the core state at its Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
This was the first major checkpoint for the team and engineers can now move from requirements to blueprints, said Tony Lavoie, a NASA manager at the Marshall Space Flight Center.
When complete, the Space Launch System will stand 200 feet tall and have a 27.5-foot diameter.
Boeing recently delivered three flight computer test beds for the SLS.