NASA Unveils ‘Monster’ Rocket


Artist Rendering of SLS. NASA Announces Design for New Deep Space Exploration System 09.14.11 NASA is ready to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System -- an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle that will provide an entirely new national capability for human exploration beyond Earth's orbit. The Space Launch System will give the nation a safe, affordable and sustainable means of reaching beyond our current limits and opening up new discoveries from the unique vantage point of space.

Goodbye, shuttle. Hello, Space Launch System. NASA unveiled its plan for a new rocket designed to take humans into Earth orbit and beyond, such as to asteroids or Mars. Officials aim to launch the rocket on its first mission in 2017. In a cost-saving measure, the rocket will use technology from the retired space shuttle and Constellation programs. It will be the first exploration-class vehicle since the Saturn V took astronauts to the moon 40 years ago. Sens. Bill Nelson, chairman of the Senate Science and Space Subcommittee, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of the Senate commerce committee praised the new program. "This is perhaps the biggest thing for space exploration in decades,” said Nelson, calling the rocket a “monster.”