NASA Gives The Go-Ahead To The World's Most Powerful Rocket

NASA gives the go-ahead to the world's most powerful rocket

Today, NASA has officially committed to build the new Space Launch System, the world's most powerful rocket ever, which hopefully will take us to Mars by 2030. The program is now set for development — the "first time that an exploration class vehicle has gotten this status since the space shuttle".

According to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden:

We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars. And we're firmly committed to building the launch vehicle and other supporting systems that will take us on that journey.

The 70-tonne rocket will launch for the first time before November 2018, a remarkable achievement if everything goes as programmed.

NASA gives the go-ahead to the world's most powerful rocket

This decision comes after a thorough review known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), which provides a development cost baseline for the 70-metric ton version of the SLS of $US7.021 billion from February 2014 through the first launch and a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018.

"Our nation is embarked on an ambitious space exploration program, and we owe it to the American taxpayers to get it right," said Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot, who oversaw the review process. "After rigorous review, we're committing today to a funding level and readiness date that will keep us on track to sending humans to Mars in the 2030s — and we're going to stand behind that commitment."

Part of the rocket — the Orion spaceship — will be launched to space on December of this year.

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    It's always good to built a giant big expensive space system with no specific mission in mind.........

    Personally in theory this is great, but when it is done at the expense of missions that could be happening, it's a waste. It's only good if this is not cutting away budget from other areas of exploration.

      Well the last time there was a huge investment into expensive space systems to do things not considered possible with the technology at the time, we ended up reaping the technological benefits flowing out of the work for over fifty years.

      Also, they do have a specific goal in mind. Manned exploration of Mars. Before that I think their plan involves setting up a permanent base on the moon as well.

        Yeah you're missing the point. They are spending a lot of time and resources in building a rocket with no actually funding or plan to use it. Yes it could be used to go to Mars, however is there any actual funding to go to mars?

        This has been where Nasa has had it's least successes. They just suck up funding that could go to more useful development and innovation. NASA is at it's best when it is goal orientated.

        Nasa has a terrible track record of doing this. In the past couple of decades billions have been spent developing heavy launch systems that could be used for a variety of missions, but no such missions are ever budgeted for planned to actually happen. Then the rockets gets cancelled. So the end result is a lot of science and exploration that could have been done with that money is not done.

        NASA is at it's best when it is goal orientated.

      If you'd read the article it's a Space Launch System.

      No matter what we do from this point forward, whether we go to Mars or not, we'll need technology to place items into orbit. It makes sense to constantly improve the efficiency and reliability of rockets that take anything into space.

        Yes, that is all good, I agree it's better to have these things. However with the very limited funding NASA gets, a capability with nothing to need that capability is not as good as funding for a whole bunch of missions.

        This takes funding aware from achievable science missions that would go ahead. For the potential for missions. However this really requires a giant scale mission where the chances of NASA ever getting the funding to go to mars, back to the moon, is actually quite slim.

      Nothing personal, but unfortunately with that attitude and a limited budget human race won't be going anywhere anytime soon and I'm pretty sure that getting of this rock might one day be the only thing that prevents the human race's extinction (or over population). We should be looking at setting up multiple colonies throughout the solar system and then spread to nearby solar systems.

      With limited resources on Earth, colonizing and terraforming Mars should be a priority over any other NASA project, one might even say this should be the number one goal of the human race. There are also other benefits of having a heavy launch vehicle like mining asteroids for materials that are in short supply on earth.

        Really simple.... just move all military funding to NASA and ask everyone to play nice.

          If only. It's so depressing when you see the billions, the hundreds of billions, trillions wasted on useless things, that NASA has to fight for such a small budget.

            I think Neil DeGrasse Tyson once noted that the entire NASA budget since it was formed is less than the current annual US defence spending. Our whole civilisation has benefitted from NASA.

    I can't wait for the trials and the inevitable failures. BANG

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