NASA has just officially rolled out the world’s most powerful rocket.
The entire reveal saw the massive Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft — the two will be used for the next generation of missions under the Artemis umbrella. The SLS made headlines earlier as it quickly blew past its $7 billion USD budget, surpassing $30 billion USD, and was audited to cost $4.1 billion USD per launch. Not leaving it to the hands of private companies, the SLS is NASA’s answer for future missions and space exploration that first starts with an unmanned lunar mission, carried on to future missions in establishing a basecamp on the lunar surface, and eventually a human mission to Mars.
The gigantic undertaking started in 2011 where a super heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle was required to replace the retired Space Shuttle. The SLS weighs 5.75 million pounds and offers multiple configurations with impressive payload numbers for deep-space exploration. Standing taller than the Statue of Liberty, the full system takes 11 hours on NASA’s Crawler to make it from the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building to the launchpad — a four-mile trip.
This unveiling ushers in a new era for NASA. Artemis, named after Apollo’s twin sister, hopes to inspire a new generation of scientists and explorers.
In other tech news, Intel to construct a $19 billion USD chip manufacturing facility in Germany.