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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: 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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