Thursday, September 15, 2011

NASA's Space Launch System to rocket into deep space, unravel the universe's mysteries (video)

The folks in charge of our final frontier have just taken the wraps off their latest rocket design, dubbed the Space Launch System. Unimaginative moniker aside, NASA's prepping the SLS to take future astronauts aboard its Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle beyond Low Earth Orbit, and out into the vast reaches of our solar system. The launcher's design, as shown off in the agency's video render, was chosen specifically for its flexibile architecture, allowing engineers to adapt and evolve its build based on mission requirements. The rig, which'll serve as a backup transport system for commercial and international trips to the ISS, is expected to handle a payload of up to 130 metric tons, and gains lift from a combo of liquid hydrogen and oxygen. When the SLS finally lifts off at the end of 2017, NASA claims it'll be the "first exploration-class vehicle since the Saturn V took American astronauts to the moon over 40 years ago." That's a heady legacy to follow, and while we've still got a few years to wait for the real thing, you can always check out the video below for a simulated take. 

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