SLS Schedule Depends On Financing

By Frank Morring, Jr.
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
December 09, 2013

The big government rocket Congress has insisted be built for deep-space human exploration is on track for a 2017 first flight. So far, there are no serious technical issues in sight and it is garnering growing interest from other potential users, according to the NASA managers responsible for developing the heavy-lift vehicle known as the Space Launch System (SLS).

The U.S. space agency and its international partners are basing plans for sending humans beyond low Earth orbit on the SLS under a schedule that will be set more by the funding available for development work than by developing hardware. The first flight-version 70-ton core stage is due at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for ground testing in 2016, and NASA will pace subsequent development of the advanced boosters and upper stage needed to reach the final 130-ton capability on how those elements would be used.

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