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Dec 9, 2014

NASA Plans Next Orion Missions 2017 and 2019

After the succesful EFT-1 (Exploration Flight Test 1) Orion mission (see the previous article in this blog) NASA is planning to launch Orion again in 2017 (EM-1, Exploration Mission 1) and 2019 (EM-2, Exploration Mission 2).

SLS Configurations

With a launch date of December 17, 2017, the EM-1 mission will aim to hand NASA a Christmas present of becoming a successful pathfinder for crewed flights on the new spacecraft, in turn providing a baseline for a return to exploration in deep space for the first time since the 1970s.


SLS-1 (Space Launch System 1), a 70 metric ton version of the SLS, is still expected to debut in 2017, with a “crew capable” but unmanned Orion MPCV (Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle) being sent on a test trip around the Moon with an European made service module.

SLS compared to other rockets
The 2021 debut of SLS/Orion for the real crewed version of this mission is now being pushed to the left by two years, with a launch date of 2019.

The first SLS will be assembled in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) – with the “full capability” Orion MPCV integrated atop of the Heavy Lift Vehicle (HLV), prior to being rolled out on the Mobile Launcher to Pad 39B

NASA's rocket garden

The 318 feet, 70mt SLS will feature two of ATK’s five segment Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), four RS-25Ds donated from the Space Shuttle Program (SSP), a core built by Boeing at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF), an avionics suite/instrument unit, a kick stage – or Interim Cryogenic Propulsion System (ICPS) mated to the Orion, with the Spacecraft and Payload Adapter and Fairing being topped off by a Launch Abort System (LAS)

Modern engineers in 1960s engineer dress cluster around a Saturn V F-1 engine.




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