September 14, 2011

To The Moon, NASA: Space Agency Reveals New Rocket

NASA announced its new post-Space Shuttle vehicle today, called the Space Launch System (SLS).  They also released a cool animation of the new rocket blasting into space. This new mega-rocket will be made with parts familiar from the Space Shuttle, like the solid rocket boosters and the shuttle's powerful main engines, all super-sized for maximum thrust to get to the moon (maybe) and beyond.

The new SLS will be able to lift 70 tons of spacecraft and/or materials into orbit and, eventually, as much as 130 tons.  The question is when.  Estimates vary depending on the funding of NASA by Congress.  And, given the problems there, the first launch date of 2017 seems optimistic at best.  Hopefully, Congress can see this for the jobs program it could be, especially in Florida where the new craft would be based.