NASA announces new deep space exploration system

NASA on Wednesday announced that it has already selected a design to develop a new Space Launch System (SLS) to transport astronauts to farther areas in space.

After months of comprehensive review of potential designs that focused on developing a rocket that is not only powerful but also evolvable so it can be adapted to different missions as opportunities arise and new technologies are developed, NASA announced that the launch vehicle had been decided.

According to the agency, the SLS is expected to carry human crews beyond low Earth orbit in a capsule named the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The rocket will use a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuel system, for which RS-25D/E engines will provide the core propulsion while the J2X engine is planned for use in the upper stage. In addition, there will be a competition to develop the boosters based on performance requirements.

"Having settled on a new and powerful heavy-lift launch architecture, NASA can now move ahead with building that rocket and the next-generation vehicles and technologies needed for an ambitious program of crewed missions in deep space," said John P. Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology.

"I'm excited about NASA's new path forward and about its promise for continuing American leadership in human space exploration," Holdren added. The heavy-lift rocket's early flights will be capable of lifting 70-100 metric tons before evolving to a lift capacity of 130 metric tons.

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