Watch NASA Launch the Rocket That Will Revolutionize Space Exploration

Wednesday, 08 November 2017 - 11:16AM
NASA
Space
Technology
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Wednesday, 08 November 2017 - 11:16AM
Watch NASA Launch the Rocket That Will Revolutionize Space Exploration
Image credit: NASA
Spacex might steal headlines with its plans for colonizing Mars, but as NASA proves with its new rocket, the space race is far from over. 

Yes, SpaceX is planning on launching manned missions to other planets, and yes, they have their own elaborate plan for doing that, but NASA is still in the game. In fact, they've completed a critical review of their first new space exploration vehicle in 40 years—the SLS.

Here's the official word:

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NASA's Space Launch System, or SLS, is an advanced launch vehicle for a new era of exploration beyond Earth's orbit into deep space. SLS, the world's most powerful rocket, will launch astronauts in the agency's Orion spacecraft on missions to an asteroid and eventually to Mars, while opening new possibilities for other payloads including robotic scientific missions to places like Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.
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That's right, we're going to be landing on asteroids.

That means Luxembourg's plan to become the space mining capital of the human race isn't as crazy as it seems.

Here's a NASA simulation of what the SLS will look like when it heads into the final frontier:


This helpful chart also gives a sense of just how powerful this rocket is.

For example, one of the SLS's core-stage rockets, the RS-25, could "power 846,591 miles of residential street lights—a street long enough to go to the moon and back and circle the Earth 15 times."

There are two configurations of the SLS, one for cargo and one for astronauts, but both versions are taller than the Statue of Liberty and can carry more than 150,000 pounds of cargo into orbit (the second configuration can carry 286,000 pounds).

Needless to say, these rockets are packing a lot of horsepower.

In fact, their horsepower is somewhere between 160,000 and 208,000 Corvette engines, depending on the configuration.

With all that power, it's going to take about eight minutes to get to space.

For more info on how rockets work, please refer to XKCD's schematics for the Up-Goer Five.
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Watch NASA Launch the Rocket That Will Revolutionize Space Exploration
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