This is the next launch vehicle that will actually be built/operated by NASA.
Its the SLS(Space Launch System), it will be slightly taller than the Saturn-V rocket and eventually will out lift the Saturn-V.
In its 70 mT config. it will use 4 actual Space Shuttle Main Engines(SSME's, also known as reusable RD-25-D's) fed by a tank that is the same diameter as the Shuttle External Tank(ET) on the core stage. Currently there are 15 SSME's that have actually flown on Shuttle missions which are being stored at Stennis, which is where all the Saturn V F-1's, SSME's, and the new J2-X engines were tested. This setup will use 5 segment solide rocket boosters, the same as the Shuttle used except that they use 5 segments instead of 4 segments like was used by the Shuttle. The 5 segment boosters were tested in Utah within the last year.
In its 130-140mt config., SLS core stage will use 5 expedable RD-25Eburning Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen (HydroLox)( pretty much the same as SSme's except that they are expendable thus making them much less expensive to manufacture) along with either 2 5 segment SRB's or 2 Liquid Rocket Boosters(LRB's) which will burn Liquid Oxygen and Kerosene or LOX and methane. There will be an open competition for the SRB or LRB contracts.
Endeavour, Atlantis and Discovery were stripped of their propulsion control systems for use on SLS.
Mission Targeted date Notes
SLS-1/EM-1 December 2017 Send Orion/MPCV on unmanned trip around the Moon.
SLS-2/EM-2 August 2019 Send Orion/MPCV on a manned trip around the Moon.
SLS-3 August 2022
SLS-4 August 2023
SLS-5 August 2024 First launch of SLS Cargo configuration
SLS-6 August 2025 Manned "Exploration" Mission
SLS-7 August 2026 Cargo launch
SLS-8 August 2027 Manned launch
SLS-9 August 2028 Cargo launch
SLS-10 August 2029 Manned launch
SLS-11 August 2030 New configuration, Cargo launch
SLS-12 August 2031 Manned mission
SLS-13 August 2032 New configuration, Cargo launch
This is the MPCV(Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle ) named Orion which will launch humans on top of SLS
Now on the Commercial spacecraft which are operated by private companies like Space X which operates Dragon Vehicles and Falcon-9 rocket..
NASA awarded a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) to SpaceX on 23 December 2008, with options that potentially increase the maximum contract value to $3.1 billion. The contract calls for 12 flights to the ISS, with a minimum of 20,000 kg (44,000 lb) of cargo carried to the ISS. Dragon has a test within a month that will launch a Dragon capsule into orbit with teh International SPace Station and use its guidance systems to approach the ISS. If this is successful, NASA will allow Dragon to dock with teh ISS. If there are isues with teh approach, the approach will be stopped, Dragon will deorbit and complete its 3rd test later on. Space X is trying to combine Test 2 and 3 in teh same launch. The Dragon capsule and Falcon rocket has already successfully launbced, orbitted, de-orbitted and spalshdown success fully late last year.
Dragon and Falcon9 will be used to resupply the ISS as part of the Commercial ResupplyServices Program. In 2015/16 Dragon/Falcon will fly Astronuats to and from the ISS as part of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDEV).
SpaceDev owned by the Sierra Nevada Corporation also received NASA money for its proposed ISS resupply/crew swap vehicle/launcher. It is called Dreamchaser, Sierra Nevada was awarded $20 million in seed money under NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) phase 1 program for the development of the Dream Chaser. Of the $50 million awarded by the CCDev program, Dream Chaser's award represented the largest share of the funds.
On April 18, 2011, NASA awarded nearly $270 million in funding for CCDev 2, including $80 million to Sierra Nevada for Dream Chaser.
The Boeing Company is also getting NASA CCDEV(Commecrial Crew Development)money for its CST-100 capsule. In the first phase of its CCDev program NASA awarded Boeing $18 million for preliminary development of the spacecraft. In the second phase Boeing was awarded $93 million for further development.
The Boeing CST-100 will be manufactured and tested in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF-3) where Space Shuttles used to be worked on in between missions. Boeing leased the building, which is one of teh reasons a bid to operate Endeavour and Atlantis commercially wouldnt work. Private investors raised enough capital to fly the 2 Shuttles up to 8 times a year, but unfortunatley some of the SPAce Shuttle infrastructure at Kennedy SPace Center and Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) had already beed promised to other ventures. MAF built the External tanks and also built the Saturn V rockets.
Once we get some of the CCDev up and running , we can stop paying the Russians $66,000,000 a seat on their Soyuz rockets/capsules.
Part 1:VAB(Vhicle Assembly Building) integration and stacking
Part 2 Pad Flow to launch
Part 3: Exploration Roadmap - Part 1:
Part 4: Exploration Roadmap - Part 2:
Part 5: (General, and several content sources, but still Con Ops by nature):
SLS Exploration Roadmap evaluations provide clues for human Mars missions
Part 6: SLS interest in DoD launch market and Secondary Payloads potential:
Part 7: Space Launch System: How to launch NASA’s new monster rocket:
Once SLS is up and running, we can fly around the moon, fly to an ateroid, and eventually if my dreams come true, have some missions to Mars within my lifetime. Every night for teh last few months I look up in the middle of the sky and I can see the red planet, and yes, it looks like a rusty/red start, that doesnt twinkle of course.