MAY 06, 2017 8:08 AM PDT

Test Launch of NASA's Heavy-Lifting SLS Rocket Delayed Until 2019

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

One of the projects NASA is currently responsible for is developing the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lifting rocket. This rocket will be incredibly powerful, enabling the space agency to launch crewed capsules into deep space for distant space missions, such as those to Mars.

An artist's birds-eye-view impression of the SLS rocket launching from the ground.

Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

The powerful rocket will be capable of sending astronauts beyond Earth’s orbit, which is a necessary step for getting mankind to another planet.

Related: NASA successfull test-fires an SLS rocket booster

On the other hand, while the first test launch of this monstrous rocket was originally planned for November of 2018, NASA is expecting some delays and has come out with the official word that a test launch will be pushed back until early 2019 or later.

The delays are to address problems in the rocket’s core design, in which cracking issues and other safety hazards have been observed.

As we've learned with rocket failures in the past, these aren't the kinds of technical difficulties you want to flip a coin on. These types technical problems could put future astronauts at risk of catastrophic failure and death if a green light were to be given for a launch without first properly addressing the concerns.

While the 2018 delay was bad enough, since Congress wanted to see a launch as soon as 2016, the official word that another delay is inevitable means that NASA has reached a saddening 3-year delay in test-launching the SLS rocket.

In the meantime, third-party space companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX are already developing more powerful rockets that will be capable of lifting heavy (crewed) payloads into deep space. Blue Origin recently detailed their New Glenn rocket, while SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket has been detailed for quite some time.

It’s possible that the U.S. government may force NASA to take a different approach to space travel given all the delays that they’re experiencing despite Congress’ growing impatience. Unfortunately, NASA’s budget is only so large and there are also other priorities the space agency is obligated to focus on.

NASA is expected to re-think their entire plan and release a new schedule some time in September.

Source: The Verge

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earthlike Planets May Orbit Supermassive Black Holes
AUG 12, 2020
Earthlike Planets May Orbit Supermassive Black Holes
Supermassive black holes are enormous wells of gravity that bind galaxies together and emit bright X-ray beams. Known to ...
SEP 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Something Unexpected Happens on Mars During Solar Eclipse
SEP 16, 2020
Something Unexpected Happens on Mars During Solar Eclipse
From data captured by NASA's InSight Mars Lander, researchers in Switzerland have found that Mars behaves differentl ...
SEP 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Turning Pulsars into Deep Space Beacons
SEP 24, 2020
Turning Pulsars into Deep Space Beacons
Navigating beyond Earth's orbit is tricky. Any misstep in movement could lead to the crushes of space probes and ves ...
OCT 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Launches $23m Toilet to Space Station
OCT 03, 2020
NASA Launches $23m Toilet to Space Station
On late October 2nd, NASA launched a spacecraft carrying 4 tonnes of cargo, including scientific equipment, food hardwar ...
NOV 13, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Observe the Birth of a Magnetar
NOV 13, 2020
Researchers Observe the Birth of a Magnetar
Scientists think they have witnessed the birth of a magnetar for the first time, when a massive burst of gamma rays took ...
NOV 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Find Human Brain Shares Structure with Universe
NOV 17, 2020
Researchers Find Human Brain Shares Structure with Universe
Astrophysicist Franco Vazza from the University of Bologna, and Alberto Felett, a neurosurgeon at the University of Vero ...
Loading Comments...