The Next Big Thing - Rockets to Mars
The new Space Launch System (SLS) is based on hardware derived from the Space Shuttle - it uses the same engines and similar side-mounted boosters - but will ultimately be capable of lifting a payload of 130 tonnes, which is more than five times the payload of the shuttle.
Steve Creech, a engineer in NASA's SLS program office, spoke to Quirks & Quarks producer Jim Lebans about the SLS. He says that even with the massive capacity of the SLS, it could take 7-9 launches for a single Mars mission. The cost of this ambitious, massive new rocket system could be a major issue for NASA's shrinking budget in the future.
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