Watch: NASA's SLS Rocket Booster Passes Major Milestone in Journey to Mars

Wednesday, 29 June 2016 - 3:28PM
Space
Mars
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 - 3:28PM
Watch: NASA's SLS Rocket Booster Passes Major Milestone in Journey to Mars
NASA's SLS is the most powerful rocket system ever built, and is possibly our best shot at getting to Mars in the next decade or so. Now, NASA has tested the rocket booster in the last test before it launches, and it passed with flying colors.



Yesterday, NASA tested the SLS booster in a two-minute ground qualification test that actually ignited the booster, gauging several aspects of its functioning, particularly the internal temperatures. NASA has now collected critical data on 82 qualification points, which is one of the last steps before setting the rocket for launch, which will in turn bring us one step closer to Mars. 

Opening quote
"This was the last full-scale test for the booster before SLS is ready in 2018 for the first uncrewed test flight with NASA's Orion spacecraft, marking a key milestone on the agency's Journey to Mars," NASA wrote.
Closing quote


The SLS is a new, more powerful system for launching deep space rockets that is derived from the Space Shuttle program. The design allows a payload of 70 metric tons to be carried into low-Earth orbit, with planned missions to a near-Earth asteroid, the Moon, and Mars within the next few years. The first launch date is scheduled for November 2018, which will carry the Orion spacecraft into a retrograde orbit around the Moon.

This is arguably our most promising avenue to the Red Planet, although private space is nipping at NASA's heels. SpaceX, in particular, is planning an ambitious uncrewed Mars mission in 2018, and claims that they may be able to put humans on Mars as early as 2024. But then again, Elon Musk is fairly nonchalant about the fatality rate for the first Mars missions, so would-be astronauts might want to hold out for NASA.
Science
NASA
Space
Mars

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