Monday, April 25, 2011

Space Launch System Design Comes Into Focus

A possible design for the Space Launch System. Illustration source: suggests that the Space Launch System may be evolving into a coherent design.

The Space Launch System was ordered by Congress after cancellation of Constellation in 2010. Some critics have dubbed it the "Senate Launch System" as its basic design was dictated by members of the U.S. Senate space subcommittee, implicitly to use contractors and employ voters in their states.

According to the article:

Uncertainty over the configuration of the Space Launch System (SLS) Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLV) may soon come to a close – at least for the interim – with a plan solidifying for using a 70mt Shuttle Derived (SD) HLV to perform a handful of flights, while another “open competition” for the main “Phase 2″ HLV decides on the configuration of the launch vehicle for the Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) missions in the next decade.


  1. What a terrible joke. And no doubt it'll still cost $1.5B per flight.

  2. This looks a lot like the DIRECT system that some NASA engineers have been touting for years.

    If we hadn't wasted six years on Constellation, this thing might actually be close to flight by now.

    Though, as QuantumG says, it would *still* cost too much. Especially since, as the underlying article says, it might only be used for a "handful of flights." And they'd have to start up production of ETs and SRB stacks again, which would cost beaucoup bux.