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World's most powerful rocket still on track

Posted on Saturday, 18 January, 2014 | Comment icon 7 comments

The SLS will be the world's most powerful rocket. Image Credit: NASA

The Space Launch System (SLS) is set to enable new missions to the Red Planet and beyond.

NASA has released a progress report detailing the development and goals of what will be the world's most powerful rocket, an interplanetary behemoth capable of lifting 70 metric tons in to low-Earth orbit, a payload three times greater than what the space shuttles had been able to carry.

"The potential use of SLS for science will further enhance the synergy between scientific exploration and human exploration," said NASA's John Grunsfeld. "SLS has the promise of enabling transformational science in our exploration of the solar system and cosmos."

Currently under construction with an estimated initial launch date of 2017, the SLS will be used in NASA's upcoming manned asteroid mission as well as in future missions to Mars.

"While many people think of the Space Launch System in terms of human exploration, SLS could have a wide application in a lot of other areas, including space science," said assistant program manager Steve Creech. "For missions to the outer planets, for example, SLS could make it possible to do things that are currently impossible, such as sending larger scientific spacecraft with more instruments to far off destinations with reduced transit times."

Source: NASA | Comments (7)

Tags: SLS, NASA, Rocket

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pallidin on 19 January, 2014, 1:39
Dang. That's one serious rocket.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 January, 2014, 3:35
70 tonnes to LEO is only the baby (Block I) version. The Block 1A version, due to enter service in 2022, will be able to lift 105 tonnes to LEO. The Block II version, due to enter service no sooner than 2030, will be able to loft 130 tonnes to LEO.
Comment icon #3 Posted by ilovejules25 on 20 January, 2014, 2:10
I really wish things move quicker in the space program... so far away still! Good thing there's SpaceX's Falcon Heavy to look forward to in 2014/2015 :)
Comment icon #4 Posted by coolguy on 20 January, 2014, 4:59
NASA has really falling behinds but they are catching up
Comment icon #5 Posted by DieChecker on 20 January, 2014, 5:14
From what I read the SLS is going to be the US's primary lift system when it is completed. I sure hope it does not get cut like the Constellation System (Ares1) did. Though it appears the SLS is based off the Ares V work that was being done already.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Frank Merton on 20 January, 2014, 5:21
What encourages me most here, in addition of course to the improved capacity, is the long-term approach that appears to be being taken. Good people need to be confident in making NASA their careers, not whim to political change.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 January, 2014, 11:56
For very large, NASA payloads, possibly. For manned missions it will not be the primary launcher. It is envisaged that there will be around one Orion/SLS launch per year to deep space. The majority of NASA's manned missions (until at least 2024) will be to the ISS and for that they will use one of the three vehicles competing for the Commercial Crew Program contract; either Boeing CST-100 or the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser (both using Atlsa V launchers) or SpaceX's Dragon Rider using the Falcon 9. For smaller, commercial payloads it will still be between United Launch Alliance's... [More]

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