NASA is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for its largest-ever rocket, which it hopes will one day send astronauts to Mars.
The first flight of the monster Space Launch System (SLS) could take place as early as March after years of delays and budget chaos.
The unenhanced Artemis I mission will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a 236,000-mile (380,000 km) journey to the Moon.
Nasa’s new Crew Orion will be launched into low Earth orbit atop the Space Launch System (SLS) before detaching and going the rest of the trip alone.
If everything goes according to plan then it will be followed by an organized mission – Artemis 2 – in 2024.
That trip will test Orion’s systems in Earth orbit to pave the way for Artemis 3 in 2025, which will send astronauts to the lunar surface.
On January 5, Nasa said it expected to launch the SLS super rocket to Launch Complex 39B in mid-February.
There, it will undergo a refueling test and countdown practice in what is known as a “wet costume maneuver”.
The SLS will then return to the Vehicle Assembly House (VAB) for final preparations before returning to the launch pad.
The US agency initially hoped to make a test flight late last year, with astronauts set to walk on the Moon in 2024.
However, in December, it delayed deployment because of a problem with the computer that controls one of the rocket’s RS-25 engines.
In December, Nasa said it was “looking at launch opportunities in March and April” for Artemis 1.
“Nasa will set a target launch date upon successful wetsuit testing,” the agency said in its January 5 update.
It hit a major milestone last October when it stacked the Orion crew cabin on top of the SLS.
The massive spaceship is currently 98m high inside the VABg at Kennedy Space Center.
Once completed, the SLS will be the most powerful rocket in the world.
With four engines and two solid boosters, the spacecraft will reach a record speed of Mach 23 before separating from the crew capsule.
Mach 23 is equivalent to about 17,647 miles per hour.
After Nasa conducts a test of its unmanned SLS, the space agency will train its observations on the first manned lunar mission in 50 years.
The goal of the ambitious mission is to land on the Moon’s south pole and mine the pockets of water ice there.
Frozen ponds were discovered in 2009 and could be used for life support purposes or even to produce rocket launchers.
The 2025 Moon Mission intends to lay the groundwork for the development of a permanent Moon-orbiting base by 2030.
The base will provide a springboard for a continued mission to Mars in the 2030s, according to Nasa.
In other news, personalized smart gun, which can only be activated by verified users, may eventually be made available to US consumers this year.
Scientists are embarking on a mission to unravel the mystery behind dozens of creepy baby mummy was buried in an underground tomb in Sicily.
The police caught an Italian mafia henchman who was on the run for 20 years after discovering the fugitive on Google Maps.
And, one of the The best preserved fossils was found that confirmed that juvenile dinosaurs popped out of their shells like baby birds.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8231685/nasa-launch-rocket-sls-humans-mars-weeks/ Nasa launches world’s largest rocket SLS ‘will send humans to Mars’ in just a few weeks