Cape Canaveral: NASA has delayed the first launch of its heavy rocket until 2019 and decided against an idea launched by the White House to put the edge of the capsule on which astronauts must fly around the moon, announced Friday The United States space agency.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration hoped to launch the space launch system, or SLS, in November 2018. The rocket will send the deep Orion capsule into a high lunar orbit.
The launch is part of NASA’s long-term program to use the rocket to take astronauts and equipment to Mars.
In February, at the request of the administration of President Donald Trump, NASA began to weigh the consequences of adding a crew of two to the test flight.
The conclusion of the study was to wait a second before adding the flight crew, said NASA Deputy Director Robert Lightfoot.
The search “really reaffirmed that the basic plan we put in place was the best way forward,” he told reporters during a conference call.
The addition of support systems to a team that would have cost NASA 600 million dollars to 900 million dollars and probably would have delayed the flight until 2020, he said.
Even without a crew, the SLS will not be ready to blow up the Kennedy Space Center in Florida until 2019, Lightfoot said, adding that the agency would have a specific time in about a month.
The delay could delay the second rocket flight beyond 2021, said NASA Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier.
The delays are due in large part to technical problems in the development of SLS and Orion, and the damage caused by the tornado at the rocket factory in New Orleans.
By the end of the following year, September 30, 2018, NASA has spent $ 23 billion for the rocket capsule, launch site and support systems, according to an audit of the Office of Inspector General NASA.
This excludes $ 9 billion spent on the lunar exploration program, Constellation, which included the initial development of the Orion and a second heavy rocket.
Initially, the SLS rocket, the use of engines leave the space shuttle’s solid rocket shuttle derivatives program and amplifiers, will have the capacity of about 77 tonnes (70 metric tons) in an orbit at 100 miles ) Above the Earth.
Later versions should pay almost double the load.
“We’re really building a system,” Gerstenmaier said. “It’s much, much more than a flight.”