29 October 2015 News

NASA’s SLS rocket: CDR completed, but budget questions remain

Are we going to Mars? New developments at NASA certainly brought that particular dream yet another step closer.

For the first time in decades, a human-rated NASA rocket has completed all of the steps needed to pass a critical design review (commonly referred to as CDR).

The Space Launch System (otherwise known as SLS) is the first vehicle that was designed with the journey to Mars in mind.

The rocket has now passed its fourth – and final – review. This means that NASA has determined that the rocket’s characteristics pass muster, and the way is now clear for the actual building and assembling stages to begin.

When completed, SLS will be the most powerful rocket humanity has ever built. Some in the media have already dubbed it a veritable “monster”. It can travel with up to four people onboard, housed inside the Orion crew vehicle (Orion is under development, and passed its own CDR back in August).

The first crewed flight of SLS and Orion is likely to happen in 2023 – which is a bit farther away than the original plan of conducting it in August of 2021.

The delay is happening due to financial reasons – funding has been a problem for NASA as of late (this means, for example, that NASA is still forced to pay Roscosmos to ferry its astronauts to the International Space Station, in spite of rather chilly relations between the U.S. and Russia).

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