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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday April 30 2017, @11:39PM   Printer-friendly

The first launch of the SLS has slipped again:

NASA has decided it must delay the maiden flight of its Space Launch System rocket, presently scheduled for November 2018, until at least early 2019. This decision was widely expected due to several problems with the rocket, Orion spacecraft, and ground launch systems. The delay was confirmed in a letter from a NASA official released Thursday by the US Government Accountability Office.

The Falcon Heavy will be able to deliver payloads that are similar to what SLS Block 1 can carry:

In its maiden flight configuration, named Block 1, the heavy-lifter will be able to haul up to 77 tons (70 metric tons) of cargo to low Earth orbit, more than double the capacity of the most powerful launcher flying today — United Launch Alliance's Delta 4-Heavy. The Block 1 version of SLS will fly with an upper stage propelled by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engine, based on the Delta 4's second stage.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, scheduled to make its first flight later this year, will come in just shy of the SLS Block 1's capacity if the commercial space company gave up recovering its booster stages.

NASA plans to introduce a bigger four-engine second stage on the EM-2 launch, a configuration of the SLS named Block 1B.

GAO report.


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  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday May 01 2017, @12:05AM (2 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Monday May 01 2017, @12:05AM (#502059) Journal

    Let's see..

    Saturn 5 by NASA
    Mass into LEO: 140 ton
    Cost per launch: 1160 million US$ in 2016 value of which $110 million was for vehicle
    Ready: 1967 - 1973

    Space Launch System by NASA
    Mass into LEO: 70 - 130 ton
    Cost per launch: 500 million US$ (2012 projection)
    Ready: 2019 Q1

    Falcon Heavy by SpaceX
    Mass into LEO: 63.8 ton
    Cost per launch: 90 million US$ for up to 8 000 kg to GTO
    Ready: 2017 Q3

    (1 ton = 1000 metric kg)

    Seems like SpaceX will beat NASA in their own game. And SLS really is a Senate Lunch System with elaborate powerpoints but not so much getting done. Elon Musk astronauts on Mars by 2021 after all?

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday May 01 2017, @12:56AM

    by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday May 01 2017, @12:56AM (#502070) Journal

    http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities [spacex.com]

    Even their $62 million Falcon 9 can supposedly get a payload to Mars.

    http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy [spacex.com]

    What's this at the bottom? 3,500 kg... to Pluto?!

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01 2017, @07:20AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01 2017, @07:20AM (#502165)

    You should also add the public funding costs, at least for the SLS and Falcon Heavy. We're spending alot of money to fund this program and at this point it's just throwing good money after bad.