Excited for Mars? Here's some cold water to throw on those hopes and dreams: NASA has officially pushed the date for Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), the first integrated test flight of the Orion deep-space crew vehicle and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, to 2019.
The long-range plan is to use the SLS to send astronauts beyond the moon in the mid 2020s before eventual flights to Mars.
NASA has been researching for the past two months if the agency could put crew on the first flight of SLS, known as Exploration Mission-1 or EM-1, at the request of the Trump administration. He said the decision to stay with the existing "baseline" plan for launching EM-1 without a crew was made jointly by the White House and NASA.
The long gap between the SLS's initial test flight and the piloted EM-2 mission, driven in large part by NASA's budget and a variety of technical hurdles, has raised concerns in some quarters about maintaining public and congressional support in a program with years between flights and competing demands on agency funding.
The first flight of NASA's expensive new deep-space rocket is going to be delayed again, and it won't have any astronauts aboard, the agency announced Friday.
And so, NASA will stick with plans to launch a "Block 1" SLS rocket in 2019 to boost an unpiloted Orion capsule on a three-week flight beyond the moon and back to a high-speed re-entry and ocean splashdown. A February tornado damaged a New Orleans facility where the rocket is assembled, and a construction accident last week irreparably damaged an oxygen tank intended for the EM-1 rocket. No one was injured in the May 3 mishap.
To read this article in one of Houston's most-spoken languages, click on the button below. "This was a significant event for us", Gerstenmaier said.
"Even though it was feasible, it just didn't seem warranted in this environment", he said.
"We're essentially building a multi-decadal infrastructure that allows us to move the human presence into the solar system", Gerstenmaier said.
"That's a grander vision in a way than just moving people to the moon for the first time, although that was a very special moment and a very special challenge for those teams moving forward".
Gerstenmaier and Lightfoot said that the feasibility study is not in a report format and some of the information is ITAR-sensitive, so there will no public release of what they based their decision on. "Blue Origin, it's more about the past way of doing business vs. how do we run the government more like a business", Larson said. SpaceX chief Elon Musk also aims to colonize Mars. "If you look at the amount of work we've accomplished, it's pretty phenomenal overall. and that's caused some of the delays".
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