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NASA Unveils Space Launch System Design

Next-Generation Launch Vehicle will Go Beyond Low Earth Orbit

NASA Unveils Space Launch System Design In mid-September, NASA revealed the design of its next-generation heavy-lift launch vehicle that will carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), called the Space Launch System (SLS).

The SLS rocket's core will be a larger derivative of the Space Shuttle external tank, which will include five Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) and initially two five-segment solid rocket boosters strapped onto the first stage core.

NASA also announced that, eventually, it will hold a competition to design and develop first stage strap-on boosters, which could be fueled by either solid or liquid propellant. The SLS will feature an improved J2-X engine for the upper stage and a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) to carry astronauts.

To see NASA's press release, including videos,click here.

To read Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham's commentary on the SLS announcement, click here.

Pictured: NASA rendering of the SLS

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