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NASA unveils giant rocket design for future odysseys with a powerful lunch vehicle   NASA unveils giant rocket design for future odysseys with a powerful lunch vehicle
By Salar Golestanian @ 14 Sep 2011 :: Article Rating
 
According to BBC, The Space Launch System (SLS), as it is currently known, will be the most powerful launcher ever built - more potent even than the Saturn V rockets that put men on the Moon. The design for NASA's newest behemoth of a rocket hearkens back to the massive workhorse liquid rockets that propelled men to the moon. But this time the destinations will be much farther and the rocket even more powerful.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and several members of Congress joined Wednesday in debut the Obama administration's much-delayed general plans for its rocket design, called the Space Launch System. It will begin unmanned test flights in six years, and carry astronauts in a capsule on top in a decade.

new nasa rocket

"This is a great day for NASA, I think, for NASA and the nation," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said at a U.S. Senate news conference called to unveil the concept. The rocket-building effort is projected to cost $18 billion through 2017, and about $35 billion by the time it carries astronauts beyond Earth orbit. Two of the senators who worked with NASA and the White House on the plan, Florida Democrat Bill Nelson and Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, said they were pleased by the plan and signalled that Congress would give its assent.

"I believe we really are going forward now, all as one, with one goal," Hutchison told journalists. She said the plan was "a commitment that NASA — NASA — is going to lead the pack."

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 first crew flying in 2021 and astronauts heading to a nearby asteroid in 2025, the officials said. From there, NASA hopes to send the rocket and astronauts to Mars — at first just to circle, but then later landing on the Red Planet — in the 2030s.

At first the rockets will be able to lift at least 70 metric tons (77 U.S. tons) of payload, which would include the six-person Orion multipurpose crew vehicle and more. Eventually it will be able to carry at least 130 metric tons (143 U.S. tons) into space, maybe even more. In comparison, the long-dormant Saturn V booster that sent humans to the moon was able to lift 120 metric tons (132 U.S. tons).

While the recently retired space shuttle's main engines were fuelled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, it was primarily powered into orbit by solid rockets. Solid rocket boosters were designed to be cheaper, but a booster flaw caused the fatal space shuttle Challenger accident in 1986. The biggest drawback was that solid rockets can't be stopped once they are lit; liquid ones can.

The new plan is to use a giant rocket powered by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Apollo, Gemini and Mercury flew into space on liquid rockets, and liquids fuel most of the world's unmanned commercial rockets. Russia's Soyuz rocket is liquid-fuelled, too.
During its initial test flights the rocket will use solid rocket boosters designed for the shuttle strapped on its outside, and will have three shuttle main engines powering it on the inside. But soon after that, the rocket would be built with five main engines, and the solid rocket boosters would be replaced with new-technology boosters that may be either liquid or solid.

"We can go compete that and get the best value" for the resulting launch system, Gerstenmaier said.



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These are various short and long News Articles, Reviews and Blogs by Salar Golestanian and employees of SalarO.com as well as contributors of Scifiwood.com. The subject matter are mixed topics with Pure Science to Science Fiction as well as general topics on Web Trends, Technology, Software Engineering genre, or whatever subject that can affect the convergence of today's technology with Science Fiction in any shape or form.  These Blogs and Reviews don't have commercial or corporate aspiration, so they are indeed completely independent views. Some of these entries may be short and just link you to the actual news or site that can expand further on the subject of interest.  In Phase II we plan to incorporate some Social Networking applications within the portal.