Written by: Martin
September 14, 2011
NASA Unveils New Space Launch System Design for Mars Missions
NASA has announced development of a new Space Launch System, or SLS. It will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The new Space Launch System is NASA’s first exploration class vehicle since the Saturn V rocket was developed 40 years ago.
“President Obama challenged us to be bold and dream big, and that’s exactly what we are doing at NASA,” said NASA`s Administrator Charles Bolden. “While I was proud to fly on the space shuttle, tomorrow’s explorers will now dream of one day walking on Mars.”
“The booster will be America’s most powerful since the Saturn V rocket that carried Apollo astronauts to the moon and will launch humans to places no one has gone before,” NASA said in a statement.
The launcher, which will take until 2017 to build, will fill a gap in US manned flight program created by the decommissioned US space shuttles. The project would cost $10 billion through 2017, another $6 billion to build the Orion deep-space crew capsule and another $2 billion to refurbish NASA’s Florida spaceport to accommodate the new rocket.
The new launch system will be able, initially, to lift as much as 140,000 pounds of cargo into space, nearly three times as much as the space shuttle, which had a lift capacity of 50,000 pounds.
The first test launch is scheduled for 2017 followed by manned flights in 2021. It could be used to launch a planned mission to an asteroid in 2025. With the Mars missions to follow before 2030
NASA NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Space Launch System