New NASA Rocket: Space Launch System (SLS) design unveiled

By on Sep 15, 2011 in Astronomy, Science, United States Comments

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveiled on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 the design of its new rocket called Space Launch System (SLS).

Artist concept of SLS on launchpad
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As announced by NASA on its official website, the SLS rocket is an advanced heavy-lift launch spacecraft that will provide an entirely new capability of US for human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit.

The SLS, which is being expected to have its first unmanned flight in 2017, will have an initial lift capacity of 70 metric tons and will be evolvable to 130 metric tons.

NASA’s new rocket will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as essential cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond.

In addition, the SLS was noted to be a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station.

“This launch system will create good-paying American jobs, ensure continued U.S. leadership in space, and inspire millions around the world,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was quoted on the report.

President Obama challenged us to be bold and dream big, and that’s exactly what we are doing at NASA. While I was proud to fly on the space shuttle, kids today can now dream of one day walking on Mars.” Bolden added.

According to some reports, the Space Launch System will be worth nearly $35 billion with its first manned flight to be launched in 2021 and will attempt to send astronauts to Mars in the coming years.

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