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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