When the SLS core test-fires, it will become the most powerful rocket ever ignited on Earth.
At 322 feet tall (98 meters), the SLS stands a head shorter than the 363-foot (110 m) Saturn V rockets that carried astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and ’70s. But this rocket is substantially more powerful, producing 15% more thrust during liftoff and ascent.
Raw power doesn’t translate neatly into how much mass the rocket can carry into space.
When complete, if everything goes right, the SLS will have the capacity to carry more than 27 tons (24,000 kilograms) to the moon — much more than the 24 tons (22,000 kg) the Space Shuttle hauled into low-Earth orbit, though technically less than the Saturn V carried to the moon. (However, according to Live Science sister site Space.com, less of the SLS carrying capacity will be wasted on the different rocket stages and fuel, making the SLS an overall better cargo mover.)