Most powerful rocket ever edges closer to lift-off
NASA's Space LaunchSystem (SLS) has completed its critical design review – a major steppingstone on the way to becoming certified for manned spaceflight. Oncecomplete, the SLS will be the most powerful launch vehicle everconstructed, capable of taking humans to hitherto unreachabledestinations including a manned mission Mars.
The review took 11weeks, and saw 13 teams of NASA engineers and scientists review over1,000 documents in order to determine whether the gargantuan rocket concept was ready to transition into full-scale production.The design review has now been submitted to a Standing Review Boardcomposed of experts independent of the program.
The next step will beto present the results of the board to the Marshall's CenterManagement Council, and then the Human Exploration and OperationsMission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.
The 2015 criticaldesign review is only effective for the first of three planned SLSvariations. The first iteration is known as Block 1, which will standan impressive 322 ft (98 m) tall and boast four RS-25engines similar to those used in the shuttle program, along with two sidemounted 177 ft (54 m) long solid fuel boosters.
The maximum thrust fromthe combined liquid and solid fuel engines will amount to 8.4 millionpounds, and allow for a payload capacity of 77 tons. The third andmost powerful version of the rocket will stand an incredible 384 ft (117 m) tall,with a maximum thrust 20 percent greater than that of the Saturn Vrocket that dominated the Apollo era.
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They should be focusing on Scientific missions, satellites, advanced propulsion, etc. Not on a giant rocket that will cost WAY to much money because they will only be able to afford to launch it once every few years. It's impressive in its size, but that's about it. If your thinking...hmmmm, It looks like an Apollo style rocket (the Saturn V) and the space shuttle mixed together...that's because IT IS. It's not some fancy new tech, it's the same companies, making the same overprice & dated components.
I think a super heavy rocket would be awesome, and with it, you would have new ideas for new missions...but it should be done with private companies...translation, Space X. Early next year they will launch their Heavy rocket...and if all goes well, they could build a super heavy rocket and still have it hit NASA's deadline, and it would cost a fraction of the price that this (future) boondoggle will cost.
All the completed was a frickin "review", and it took 3 months and dozens of people to confirm that decades old tech still works. The ISS was stupid, and so is this rocket. BTW, I think NASA overall if a source for good, and they do accomplish amazing things, New Horizon has shown how good they are at their job. But giant wasteful projects (like this one) get under my skin.
The SLS seems to be on the right track, each launch will cost about the same as one Shuttle mission and will ultimately be capable of launching 5 times the mass into Earth orbit as compared to the Shuttle.
I cannot wait to see the first launch, God Speed!