The demands of going to Mars are immense.
Meeting that challenge will require delivering our best, and then continuing to do better.
Designed to enable human exploration of deep space, NASA’s Space Launch System will be, from its first launch, the most powerful rocket in the world today. The first SLS to depart Earth will carry about triple the payload of the space shuttle, provide more thrust at launch than the Saturn V, and send Orion further into space than Apollo ever ventured.
But even that power is only a fraction of what is needed for human landings on Mars. To continue the Journey to Mars, we will have to take the most powerful rocket in the world and make it even more powerful.
NASA is doing research today on technologies like composite materials and 3-D printing that will be used to make future versions of the rocket more powerful.
Engineers at Marshall’s Space Flight Center, where the program is based, and other engineers across the country, are already in the planning phases for the first major upgrade, which will come in the form of a more powerful upper stage. This will create a version of the rocket that will ...