NASA Unveils ‘Monster’ Rocket

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.”