Nasa unveils Space Launch System vision

News Commentary – September 15, 2011

Nasa unveiled designs for a new rocket yesterday that could one day take astronauts to Mars, if it ever gets off the ground let alone the drawing board.

For the Space Launch System (SLS) is at present no more than a design concept. If it ever gets off the drawing board it will have to find funding and in the current precarious state of America’s economy that’s a moot point.

What’s more the first test launch is only scheduled for 2017 and that has yet to be confirmed.

However, what is really telling about the SLS is that it borrows much from the past, using technologies from the recently retired space shuttle, which was itself more than 20 years old.

In size and overall shape the rocket even resembles those used before the advent of the shuttle.

So far from being a symbol of the spirit enterprise and innovation the SLS is emblematic of America’s decline.  

A bankrupt nation, America is devoid of new ideas and borrowing from the past with a lot of big talk.

Nasa unveils Space Launch System vision

BBC Online – September 14, 2011

The design for a huge rocket to take humans to asteroids and Mars has been unveiled by the US space agency Nasa.

The Space Launch System (SLS), as it is currently known, will be the most powerful launcher ever built – more powerful even than the Saturn V rockets that put men on the Moon.

On top of the SLS, Nasa plans to put its Orion astronaut capsule, which is already in development.

The agency says the first launch should occur towards the end of 2017.

This will be an uncrewed test flight, and it is estimated the project will have cost $18bn (£11.4bn) by that stage.

“The next chapter of America’s space exploration story is being written today,” said Nasa’s top official, General Charles Bolden.

“President Obama has challenged us to be bold and dream big, and that’s exactly what we do.

“While I was proud to fly in the space shuttle, tomorrow’s explorers will dream of one day walking on Mars.”

Evolved design

The SLS will borrow many technologies developed for the recently retired space shuttle programme. These include the shuttle orbiter’s main engines.

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