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Rocketology: NASA’s Space Launch System

The Next Steps Are Here

4 Feb 2016, 16:48 UTC
The Next Steps Are Here
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Back in November, we debuted the first in a set of new videos, “No Small Steps.” Now, the next “Steps” is here!
The first video in the series explained why going to Mars is a very big challenge, and why meeting that challenge requires a very big rocket. (Hint: You need a whole lot of fuel.)
The second installment goes a step further, by discussing how NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) builds on the foundation of the Saturn V and the Space Shuttle, but then uses that foundation to create a rocket that will accomplish something neither of them could – sending humans to the Red Planet.
SLS takes advantage of some of the best concepts and systems from its predecessors. Like the Saturn V, SLS is a massive, staged rocket. Like the space shuttle, it uses solid rocket boosters and RS-25 engines. But unlike either of those vehicles, SLS will be able to support human missions to Mars. How do you combine elements of two different vehicles and produce a new one with a capability neither of the others had? You take the best of yesterday and INNOVATE.
Today’s teams have the added advantage of a few decades of ...

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