Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Development delays in SLS rocket may force Nasa to use private launchers

NASA spotted hopping liquid water on Moon’s surface
Frank Williams | 15 March, 2019, 16:41

The moon has been keeping secrets for billions of years, but we've had samples of lunar regolith right here on Earth that haven't even been looked at since they were brought back from the Apollo missions nearly 50 years ago.

Congress initially wanted a first flight in late 2016. NASA has only brought back samples from a handful of lunar locations.

Bridenstine went on to share NASA's plans for the future in a statement on NASA's website explaining how, with newly innovated technology, we could start to see a more diverse group of astronauts traveling to space in the future. The rocket, which is being built primarily by Boeing, would launch Orion - the lunar capsule built by Lockheed Martin that would carry the crew.

Solid rocket boosters for the Space Launch System will be stacked at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Bridenstine pointed to that mission as an example of how NASA has leveraged commercial rockets successfully.

"We have awesome capability that exists right now that we can use off the shelf in order to accomplish this objective", he said. While SpaceX recently sold its heavy lift vehicle with three reusable boosters to the U.S. Air Force for a classified military launch to the tune of $130 million.

Vietnam urges Malaysia free 2nd woman in N. Korean killing
Four North Koreans, believed to be the plot's masterminds, fled Malaysia after the murder and remain at large. He had been living overseas for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule.

If satellites have been able to identify rocks and minerals that haven't even been collected yet just from orbit, who knows what we'll find when we finally put boots on the moon again.

Bridenstine called for NASA to use more commercial crafts in the future, saying the agency would be a major customer and did not want to be "the long pole in the tent", a reference to the cavalcade of rules, regulations and delays the agency has historically faced. The most recent class of flight directors was also 50 per cent women, Nasa said. The shift in focus will likely result in several missions slated to be launched aboard the rocket shifted to commercial partners, including the construction of the agency's lunar-orbit space station.

Both of those missions were initially expected to be carried out using the SLS.

Producing the SLS in 43 states means 86 senators have something to lose if the SLS program goes south, leading some snarky commentators to label it the "Senate Launch System". The move was in reaction to the Obama Administration's 2010 decision, as part of its FY2011 budget request, to cancel the Bush Administration's Constellation program to return humans to the Moon by 2020.

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