Wednesday, January 15, 2014


NASA unveiled peeks of the proposed new heavy launch rocket called the Space Launch System or SLS. 

The news launcher will set a record as the largest payload ever built.  Still under construction, the SLS will have its inaugural flight sometime in 2017.  The first payload will weigh in at 77 tons which in and of itself is amazing as that is three times what the Shuttle could put into low Earth orbit.  Once the initial flights have proven the system sound (NASA just recently took delivery of the flight control electronics which will be tested on a frame to simulate a launch with all the flight control hardware situated on the frame as it will be on the SLS) NASA will modify the system to carry 143 tons, more that any other rocket in history.  With lift capabilities like these, the SLS could conceivably lift a spacecraft larger than the shuttle and still have enough left over to send it on a deep space mission.

NASA is confident that the new rocket would allow for direct routes to many of the destinations that now have to depend on gravity assists and coasting for much of the flight.  Direct routes would cut transit time in half. 

Check out the complete IO9 article HERE

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