The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has shown its new SLS Moon rocket to the world for the first time.
The Space Launch System (SLS) was moved to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida so that officials could conduct a dummy countdown. If the test goes well the rocket could be heading for the Moon in the next few months.
The BBC reports that ultimately, it’s hoped astronauts would climb aboard later SLS rockets to return to the Moon’s surface sometime in the second half of this decade.
NASA has put a lot of power and effort into the massive SLS that’s almost 100 metres tall. It’s more powerful than the Apollo Saturn vehicles used during the 1960s and 1970s.
And there’s a good reason for NASA’s effort since the SLS will have to be powerful enough to not only send astronauts to the Moon, but it should also be able to carry equipment and cargo so that the crew members are able to stay away for long periods at a time.
Tom Whitmeyer, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development, told the BBC that it’s the very first time everyone has got to see all its different elements fully stacked together.
“The first rolling out of the Vehicle Assembly Building – that’s really an iconic moment for this vehicle. To be here for a new generation of super-heavy-lift, exploration-class vehicle is a day to remember.”
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