NASA makes SHOCK Space Launch System announcement – future of spaceflight hangs in balance

A NASA administrator has revealed the SLS could be given to private companies. Jim Bridenstine said at the Senate Commerce Committee: “SLS is struggling to meet its schedule. NASA has a history of not meeting launch dates. And I’m trying to change that.”

The mission called Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) had been planned to launch in 2020.

The Orion four-person spacecraft would be a first for NASA as it plans to take humans to the moon and further.

SLS has received several delays making the launch date seem unlikely despite NASA insisting astronauts will be on board by 2022.

The rocket has been criticised after $14billion (£10billion) had been spent on it over the past decade, Forbes reported.

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However, SpaceX built and launched Flacon Heavy at a reduced cost.

Mr Bridenstine added NASA are looking at other options for the mission.

He said: “Some of those options would include launching the Orion crew capsule and the European service module on a commercial rocket.

“We could use two heavy-lift rockets to put the Orion crew capsule and European service module in orbit around Earth.”

However, NASA have previously insisted the rocket which is the largest since Saturn V, is the only thing capable of going into deep space.

There have been many calls for SLS to scrapped and the funding to be redirected into another NASA project.

Other options for the money include science and exploration mission in the Solar System as opposed to just one rocket launch.

Jonathan Goff, President and CEO of startup Altius Space Machines said: “I was really surprised and impressed that Administrator Bridenstine made this announcement.

“I think this is a big deal, especially if they can pull it off.”


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