Sunday February 26, 2017

NASA Kicks off Study to Add Crew to First Flight of Orion, SLS

The agency is currently deciding whether it is feasible to add human crew to Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), which involves the most powerful rocket in the world for a moon mission. The maiden voyage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft hosting guinea pigs will be decided by early springtime, but EM-2’s 2021 launch is almost certain to be manned.

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During the first mission of SLS and Orion, NASA plans to send the spacecraft into a distant lunar retrograde orbit, which will require additional propulsion moves, a flyby of the moon and return trajectory burns. The mission is planned as a challenging trajectory to test maneuvers and the environment of space expected on future missions to deep space. If the agency decides to put crew on the first flight, the mission profile for Exploration Mission-2 would likely replace it, which is an approximately eight-day mission with a multi-translunar injection with a free return trajectory.