Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NASA unveils SLS

NASA unveiled plans for the Space Launch System rocket, designed to take astronauts into deep space. Administrator Charles Bolden said at a Wednesday news conference that the heavy-lift SLS, more powerful than the Saturn V, will fly in 2017. It will allow astronauts to reach asteroids and Mars. SLS will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as cargo, equipment and science experiments, and will be a backup for transportation services to the International Space Station. It will use technologies from the Space Shuttle and Constellation programs to leverage proven hardware and tooling and manufacturing technology. It will use a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propulsion system, which will include the RS-25D/E from the Space Shuttle for the core stage and the J-2X engine for the upper stage. (Sources: Multiple, including Huntsville Times, Space Travel, Los Angeles Times, 09/14/11) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., does rocket engine testing and assembly of the J-2X. It also tested all the Space Shuttle Main Engines. Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has been working on Orion.(Story) It's likely to play a role in development of SLS as well.