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posted by mrpg on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.

The first SLS flight, around the moon, will not include a crew.

The first flight of NASA's next-generation heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), is now scheduled for 2019 and will not include a human crew, agency officials said today (May 12).

As of 2016, NASA had planned for the SLS' first flight to take place in 2018, without a crew on board. But the transition team that the Trump administration sent to the agency earlier this year asked for an internal evaluation of the possibility of launching a crew atop the SLS inside the agency's Orion space capsule.

Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, said during a news conference today that, based on the results of this internal evaluation, a crewed flight would be "technically feasible," but the agency will proceed with its initial plan to make the rocket's first flight uncrewed.

[...] SLS' first flight will be called Exploration Mission 1, or EM-1, and will send an uncrewed Orion capsule (which has already made one uncrewed test flight, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket) on a roughly three-week trip around the moon. The first crewed flight, EM-2, was originally scheduled to follow in 2021.

Source:NASA Won't Fly Astronauts On 1st Orion-SLS Test Flight Around the Moon
Also at:
NASA Study Warns Against Putting Crew On Huge Rocket's First Flight
NASA Denies Trump's Request to Send Astronauts Past the Moon on New Rocket

Previously: SpaceX to Fly Two Tourists Around the Moon in 2018
Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019

SpaceX might beat SLS to the moon with humans.


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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:45AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @04:45AM (#509353)

    Nothing should ever be manned. All men are worthless.

    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday May 14 2017, @06:44AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday May 14 2017, @06:44AM (#509378) Homepage

      Yeesh, they'd all end up killing each other before reentry, and the video would be gruesome as they would claw and gouge each other slowly to death.

      This is why that, during the history of manned space flight, the male-to-female ratio on space flights was always 2:1 or greater, this ensured that each woman aboard had a multitude of partners from which to choose and to serve as distractions from the catty estrogen which builds up in confined space flight and on reality TV episodes.

      Besides, men get restless as well. When men go up into space with no women onboard things like this [youtube.com] tend to happen.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:39PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:39PM (#509545)

    How would YOU feel about being on the launch pad, sitting on top of two million parts built by the lowest bidder on a Government contract, AND whose schedule was set by some Trump transition team weenie who wouldn't know his asteroid from a hole in the ground?

    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:50PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:50PM (#509556) Journal

      I would make sure my Trumpsurance were paid on time. They have this resurrection option but it's really expensive. :P
      Other than that.... hmm.. suicidal? ;)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:48PM (#509555)

    The Shortest SF Story Ever
    by Seth Chambers
    For sale: spacesuit.
    Small leak.
    Worn once.
    Cheap.
    The End

  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:54PM

    by kaszz (4211) on Sunday May 14 2017, @05:54PM (#509560) Journal

    I wonder if it would be possible to sneak on board as a stowaway ? ;^)
    Getting the life support and food on board undetected might be troublesome. But money could buy that look-another-way(tm).

    Or Mars.. "Hey Earth, There is life on Mars.. me. Could you send some supplies? will work for food.. and a oxygen generator".
    Drawn in the sand and seen by satellite? "send a radio, please?"

  • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Monday May 15 2017, @12:15AM (1 child)

    by richtopia (3160) on Monday May 15 2017, @12:15AM (#509647) Homepage Journal

    Human rated spacecraft should be able to be operated unmanned also in this day and age. Hypothetically, if this spacecraft has an issue during a mission presenting additional risks, such as for example a piece of foam insulation striking the wing of a space shuttle during launch, the craft can be returned to earth unmanned.

    I cannot find a link, but I seem to remember that the American Space Shuttle was manned for political reasons. The Soviet shuttle Buran actually only flew unmanned during its single flight.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 15 2017, @01:00PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday May 15 2017, @01:00PM (#509987)

      Its kind of like arguing that self-driving cars don't need seats because being self driving they don't need drivers therefore they'll never contain people, because the whole purpose of automobiles never involved human travel at all, which is kinda silly.

      The idea of a self driving school bus with no seats and no people inside is kinda comedic.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 15 2017, @01:13PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday May 15 2017, @01:13PM (#509992)

    What would they do?

    If its primarily a shakedown flight, ground control will be exercising the hell out of the craft and they'll have no time, no payload, for the spam in the can to do anything this time around.

    Its like the business/technical advice to experiment with one thing at a time. Test the people or test the ship on the first mission. Good luck testing the people without a working ship on the first flight. So prove out the ship, then next time put people in a proven ship and test out the people, more or less.

    Also NASA is a purely CYA culture and there is no upside to having the spam in a can do nothing for a mission, and the downsides of a failure are kinda high, so unless they're outright ordered to put volunteers in there, that thing will never fly with a human. Remember they're paid to manage contracts and minimize risk, and the lowest risk vehicle never flies, while the project was objectively highly successful in terms of money spent and meetings held.

    One interesting solution would be to strap in some death row inmates and commute their sentence to life in prison if they make it back alive. They're not doing anything interesting back home, if they die the end result is the same as if they stayed home, if they live the general public is still protected from them yet they're "rewarded", when they're bored or inconvenienced by being in orbit nobody but the worst bleeding heart liberals feel sorry for them. As for fame, one interesting solution would be to not release their names.

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