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Rocketology: NASA’s Space Launch System

Happy (Earth-) Independence Day!

5 Jul 2016, 17:48 UTC
Happy (Earth-) Independence Day!
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Work is progressing rapidly in preparation so this artists concept can become a reality.
On Monday, the United States celebrated the Fourth of July. Fireworks and backyard grills were ignited across the country.
A couple hundred miles above us, the International Space Station orbited Earth with two spacecraft attached to it.
What do these two things have in common? A quest for independence.
The Fourth of July, of course, is the United States’ Independence Day, celebrating the anniversary of the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence, announcing that the former colonies were becoming a sovereign nation.
The International Space Station is an early, but prominent step in NASA’s effort to achieve “Earth independence” in human deep-space exploration, a key part of our Journey to Mars. On the station, we are learning how to live off the Earth by conducting investigations to learn how the human body adapts to space and testing new technologies needed for longer missions. However, the two spacecraft docked to the space station demonstrate that our human spaceflight operations today are “Earth dependent.” While astronauts float freely in the microgravity aboard the station, they remain tethered to our planet by a supply chain of provisions needed ...

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