Social Media Sidebar


Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.


Thomas Edison

NASA wants to put astronauts on the very first launch of its new mega-rocket

Posted in Science on 16th Feb, 2017 03:30 PM by Alex Muller

Rumors are circulating that NASA is shaking up its schedule for the Space Launch System. The rocket's maiden launch may carry astronauts onboard. Popular Science has confirmed with Stuart McClung, an engineer on the Orion capsule that's designed to ride on SLS, that NASA is indeed considering these changes.

Until now, the plan was that SLS would take off on its inaugural flight (Exploration Mission 1, or EM-1) in 2018, carrying an empty Orion capsule. Astronauts wouldn't ride on SLS until approximately 2021, when the rocket would launch the crewed Orion capsule into lunar orbit.
McClung confirmed that Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, sent out an email to NASA employees announcing that he has asked for a study to evaluate the feasibility of adding crew to EM-1. "The message notes that the extra work would require a different launch date," says McClung.
The capsule that was originally constructed for the SLS's maiden launch doesn’t carry all the safety systems that would be used for a crewed voyage, "so we’d have to augment it with some crew provisions that are not in the current plan," says McClung. Modifying it to keep a crew safe would take some time, hence, the potential delay.
Flying humans on the first launch of a rocket is somewhat nontraditional. NASA's first human spaceflight programs, including Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, all utilized uncrewed test flights before humans flew onboard. Today's private spaceflight companies are also taking this cautious approach. We are, after all, talking about strapping humans to a meticulously-constructed explosive device. But the space shuttle flew without an uncrewed test flight beforehand, without any immediate disaster.
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel ("ASAP," referenced in the tweet above), which advises NASA on safety and performance, may not love the idea. But then again, they haven't been 100 percent thrilled about SLS to begin with.
For its part, the Orion capsule design has already proven its spaceworthiness in uncrewed test flights.
The change of plan may combat the somewhat lackluster enthusiasm for the Asteroid Redirect Mission, which is supposed to carry an asteroid into lunar orbit for the first SLS crew to visit in the 2020s.
Personally, McClung says he's excited about the possibility of launching astronauts onboard EM-1. "I like the idea of the challenge."

Tags: spaceNASArocketSLS

Read original article » Back to category



Recent headlines

  • Posted in Software on 2018-06-21 03:22:47
    IBM Unveils System That 'Debates' With more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-21 03:12:27
    NASA unveils bold new plan to protect Earth from more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-21 03:03:04
    Machine learning may be a game-changer for more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-20 02:26:18
    Pushing the limit: could cyanobacteria terraform Mars? more
    Posted in Medicine on 2018-06-20 02:23:08
    Hospital Begins Testing VR As A Pain Relief more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    In five years quantum computing will be more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Google partners with Johnson and Johnson to make lower more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Electron holography microscope with spatial resolution down more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Lower cost advanced Nuclear power could dominate future US more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Why Hasn’t AI Mastered Language Translation? more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Remember me

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Verify password:
Remember me