NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars

By NASA

NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) — the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars — and approved the program’s progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.

“We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “And we’re firmly committed to building the launch vehicle and other supporting systems that will take us on that journey.”

For its first flight test, SLS will be configured for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. In its most powerful configuration, SLS will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons), which will enable missions even farther into our solar system, including such destinations as an asteroid and Mars.

This decision comes after a thorough review known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), which provides a development cost baseline for the 70-metric ton version of the SLS of $7.021 billion from February 2014 through the first launch and a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Take me now NASA. I’ve just been reading Catch The Fire Ministries readers forums and I need to escape from earth. I can’t live on a planet where there are more people who think in this way, that rational people. So today if possible NASA.

    I believe that the world has about three years before it falls into a new world war.

    And

    Though a global war is something that can bring fear to many. This is not what we need to fear. It is time to cleanse ourselves of Adultery, Fornication, unnatural relationships, Gossip, Idol worship (these take many forms. Worshiping leaders, musicians how we do church and many more) slander and lack of mercy and love. If we do not cleanse ourselves we are no better than the world and deserve the same punishment.

    And yet more

    Islam is not your enemy, nor is the wicked people who promote unnatural relationships. Do not lose focus. Keep your eyes on God and pray without ceasing. Cleanse yourself of unrighteousness because the enemy will use this to pull you down. Show love to all, including to the fallen. Obey God for it is only Him who will save you.

    So you can see folks, it’s all over. So I’ve booked seat 1A. You can line up behind me.

    • The strange thing is the more a person bangs on about Adultery , Fornication and err…unnatural relationships (whatever those may be in the strange minds of the religious) the more likely that they will have those very same proclivities…the Guilt that stacks upon (and feeds on) the religious psyche is the very source of the majority of psychotic and anti-social problems in the world today!!

  2. @OP – For its first flight test, SLS will be configured for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. In its most powerful configuration, SLS will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons), which will enable missions even farther into our solar system, including such destinations as an asteroid and Mars.

    Government funding agencies and politicians have shuffled about on this for years now, with projects cancelled and then reinstated in a new form.

    I think a manned expedition to one of the Martian moons or an asteroid, would be a more useful first mission than a Mars landing.
    A return to the Moon would also be a future move, although I think more concentration on robot missions, and prior robot manufacturing of parts in space, needs more priority than manned missions to Mars.

    http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/august/sparks-fly-as-nasa-pushes-the-limits-of-3-d-printing-technology/index.html

    NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

    NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector –a highly complex part that sends propellant into the engine — with design features that took advantage of 3-D printing. To make the parts, the design was entered into the 3-D printer’s computer. The printer then built each part by layering metal powder and fusing it together with a laser, a process known as selective laser melting.

    The additive manufacturing process allowed rocket designers to create an injector with 40 individual spray elements, all printed as a single component rather than manufactured individually. The part was similar in size to injectors that power small rocket engines and similar in design to injectors for large engines, such as the RS-25 engine that will power NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars.
    3-D Printed Rocket Injector Roars to Life: The most complex 3-D printed rocket injector ever built by NASA roars to life on the test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

    “We wanted to go a step beyond just testing an injector and demonstrate how 3-D printing could revolutionize rocket designs for increased system performance,” said Chris Singer, director of Marshall’s Engineering Directorate. “The parts performed exceptionally well during the tests.”

    Using traditional manufacturing methods, 163 individual parts would be made and then assembled. But with 3-D printing technology, only two parts were required, saving time and money and allowing engineers to build parts that enhance rocket engine performance and are less prone to failure.

    Whatever the priorities, heavy lift launch vehicles to get initial materials off Earth, are important, until metals and water for fuels, can be sourced from asteroids, comets and meteors, to provide materials for 3D printing components in space and for propellants.

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