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Alabama firm building test stands for largest NASA rocket

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – NASA’s next-generation rocket will one day make an epic journey to Mars, but first it will have to pass trials at giant test stands now under construction in Alabama.

Birmingham-based Brasfield & Gorrie has been awarded a $45.3 million contract to build two test stands that will ensure the Space Launch System (SLS) can withstand launch stresses when the space agency is ready to launch an unmanned flight in 2017.

SLS, which is largely being designed in Huntsville at the Marshall Space Flight Center, will be the most powerful rocket in history. Plans for SLS include taking astronauts on missions beyond low-Earth orbit into the solar system and to an asteroid. Later launches would eventually take man to Mars.

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