Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bolden: SLS Flight by 2017

Charlie Bolden testifies today before the House Space Committee.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told the House Science, Space and Technology Committee today that he hopes the first uncrewed test flight of the Space Launch System will be in 2017.

Although NASA must still finalize an integrated test flight plan based on the President's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request, NASA is currently targeting the first uncrewed SLS development flight for late 2017, to support a crewed mission by the early 2020s, and a visit to an asteroid in 2025.

Bolden projected this timeframe in his opening remarks, which were prefaced by accusations from Republican chair Ralph Hall.

To watch the video, click here to go to the committee hearing web page and click on the image beneath Webcast on the right. If you wish to skip the introductory insults by the committee chair, Bolden's remarks start a little after 16 minutes into the recording.

UPDATE July 14, 2011Aviation Week has more on Bolden's timeline:

“Even before we have a capability of putting humans on it, we are hopeful that in the 2017 time frame we would like to use that to boost an early version of the MPCV into space and get it to speeds faster than it would be going when it came back from the International Space Station, for example,” Bolden said. “Whether it goes around the Moon and comes back, I need it to accelerate to a velocity that is equivalent to what it would be [traveling] when it comes back from the Moon, from an asteroid or from Mars, and be able to survive re-entry.”

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