The full House of Representatives has passed a NASA budget for 2015 that gives the space agency $17.9 billion.
NASA has put plans in motion to build the largest and most powerful rocket the world has ever seen. It sounds like the beginning of a new Bond film, but the agency said it’s moving forward with a new Space Launch System (SLS)—possibly in two size configurations—capable of lifting up to 286,000 pounds. The first manned launch is tentatively scheduled for 2021, which will see the SLS propel a new spacecraft, known as Orion, to either a nearby asteroid or the moon. If successful, NASA’s SLS could even be used for a Mars mission.
Engineers have begun stacking operations for NASA’s maiden Orion deep space test capsule at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) achieving a major milestone leading to its first blastoff from the Florida Space Coast less than six months from today.
With just six months until its first trip to space, NASA’s Orion spacecraft continues taking shape at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
All the superlatives associated with Orion’s first mission this year – farthest a spacecraft for humans has gone in 40 years, largest heat shield, safest vehicle ever built – can be dazzling, no doubt. But the reason engineers are chomping at the bit for Orion’s first mission is the promise of crucial flight test data that can be applied to the design for future missions.
More than 30,000 K-12 students worldwide have registered to take the Exploration Design Challenge so they can fly their name in space on Orion’s first flight – Exploration Flight Test-1. You can join the mission too, but completing the challenge by June 30!