With the successful launch of the recent Falcon heavy rockets, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Company seems to have become a leader in aerospace. Although Musk’s aerospace company achieved impressive results, NASA did not stop the pace of space exploration and space exploration.
NASA started research and development of the space launch system (SLS) in 2010, and the SLS rocket system will be the most powerful rocket ever made and of course include Falcon heavy rockets. NASA is in the process of upgrading the retired shuttle’s RS-25 engine to power SLS rockets. NASA tested one of its engines on February 21 and achieved a thrust of 113% of its rated thrust.
This means that the upgraded RS-25 engine performance has achieved a staggering 13% improvement, completely breaking the limits of NASA when designing this engine decades ago. According to NASA, the ignition test on February 21 also tested the RS-25’s flight controller and a 3D printed engine assembly.
NASA said after a successful test: “Each RS-25 engine test brings us closer and closer to returning to deep space exploration and to space targets such as the Moon or Mars.” But the SLS system does not do this sort of thing The only hope is that SpaceX’s Falcon heavy rockets are also capable of these tasks, and it has been able to enter space.
However, there are many differences between the two rocket launch systems. SLS rockets will be even higher, reaching 97 meters, more than 70 meters tall falcon heavy rockets. From the point of view of load capacity design, SLS rockets also have a slightly stronger ability to carry low Earth orbit loads, with a payload capacity of 77 tons and Falcon heavy rockets with a payload capacity of 70 tons. However, according to NASA, future improvements are likely to bring SLS rockets to an astonishing 130 metric tons.
Musk past Falcon heavy rocket launch press conference had announced that Falcon heavy rocket research and development costs about 500 million US dollars. According to a report released by NASA’s Office of Supervision in April last year, NASA’s investment in SLS rocket projects will reach about 23 billion U.S. dollars by the end of this year. Falcon heavy rocket can be recycled, but the SLS rocket is not recovered, which will have an impact on the future launch costs.
In support of the SLS launch, NASA is revamping a launch tower designed for other rockets. That tower already cost nearly $ 1 billion from NASA and could require further upgrades in the future. It may only be able to use once, which requires NASA to invest in the transformation of other towers to prepare for future SLS launch.
NASA has repeatedly delayed the launch date of the SLS rocket system, but in November 2017, NASA announced its first launch in 2020. The first mission of the SLS, the # 1 exploration mission, will fly an unmanned spacecraft around the moon and the future of the SLS rocket launch system is expected to explore the moon, Mars and beyond.
However, taking into account the increasing budgetary pressure on NASA, the rocket launch date in 2020 is also likely to change. But when the SLS rocket system truly completes its maiden voyage, it will lead a completely new aviation era and will also ensure that NASA has long been a leader in aviation.