Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Checking up on the Space Launch System

The most recent publicly released artist's rendering of the Orion/SLS Block-1 architecture, now intended for a hoped-for 2017 debut. Success by streamlined commercial manned space companies filling America's low-Earth orbit manned spaceflight gap with the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, the Space Launce System heavy-lift architecture will revive American manned spaceflight access to Cis-Lunar Space and beyond. Until then, NASA will utilize the work-horse Delta-IV heavy lift booster to begin unmanned flight testing of the Orion spacecraft beginning in 2014  [NASA].
Jason Davis
The Planetary Society Blog
When SpaceX's Dragon capsule returned from its historic trip to the International Space Station this May, it proved that -- in theory -- the idea of having private spaceflight companies relieve NASA of its low-Earth orbit taxi duties can succeed. Meanwhile, work continues on the Space Launch System, the next-generation deep space vehicle slated to take humans beyond Earth for the first time since 1972.

Orion arrives at KSC -- Amid much pomp and circumstance, the first space-bound Orion capsule arrived at Kennedy Space Center at the end of June. Orion sat naked during its official unveiling, baring its sea foam-green hull that was constructed using friction stir welding, a process in which metal is 'mixed' at the joint rather than melted (other space vehicles have used this technique, including SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket). NASA officials, astronauts and politicians attended the official unveiling, including U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who is fond of referring to the SLS by a different moniker: the "Monster Rocket."

Read the complete post HERE.

Orion Drop Test (April 18. 2012)

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