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Utilizing the Centaur V and ACES 68 for Deep Space SLS Missions

24 Dec 2018, 19:51 UTC
Utilizing the Centaur V and ACES 68 for Deep Space SLS Missions
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by Marcel F. Williams Artist rendition of ULA's future upper stage precursor to the IVF modified ACES 68, accommodating 68 tonnes of LOX/LH2 propellant (Credit: United Launch Alliance)NASA currently envisions three launches for the SLS (Space Launch System) using a Block I configuration and consisting of an ICPS (Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage) for its upper stage. The basic Block I vehicle will be capable of deploying at least 70 tonnes to LEO. However, by utilizing the ICPS as an upper stage that can accommodate 27 tonnes of propellant, the Block I configuration with an ICPS upper stage will be able to deploy at least 95 tonnes of payload to low Earth orbit.A Block IB configuration with an EUS (Exploration Upper Stage) is expected to be introduced by 2024. The EUS will be able to accommodate 128 tonnes of LOX/LH2 propellant. And this will enable the Space Launch System to deploy up to 105 tonnes of payload to LEO. NASA currently plans to use the Block IB configuration to assemble the future Lunar Gateway at NRHO (Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit). The Lunar Gateway will serve as a bridge for Lunar and Martian operations, substantially reducing the delta v requirement to reach ...

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