Now that the shuttle program is being put into its resting place, NASA is gearing up for their next step in America’s Space Program, the SLS. What’s that stand for? Space Launch System, yeah I know, totally cool sounding right? You weren’t expecting more from a bunch of nerds I hope.
Announced today, will be the largest and most powerful ever built, with more thrust than even the Saturn V (Apollo and Skylab programs used from 1967 to 1973). Its first flight, most likely unmanned has a “end of 2017″ target date. Which given how NASA has been getting pimp slapped by congress lately will most likely be closer to 2020 for it’s first test date. The hopeful goal of SLS is to allow astronauts to go unprecedented distances; there’s talk of going to an asteroid and, eventually, Mars with this system.
At a cost of $18 billion over the next six years.
SO yeah, cross your fingers that Virgin Galactic and all the other venture capitalist that are putting down money on private companies taking over space aren’t laughing at NASA when they’re already lounging on Pluto.