First SLS, Orion flight delayed to 2019, no crew aboard

NASA's Orion Spacecraft before launch

NASA's Orion Spacecraft before launch

After a study began in February, NASA decided the first mission for the Space Launch System rocket will be flown according to the original plans, calling for an unmanned flight.

"After weighing the data and assessing all implications, the agency will continue pursuing the original plan for the first launch, as a rigorous flight test of the integrated systems without crew", NASA said in a statement on Saturday.

NASA will not send astronauts around the moon next year, space agency officials announced on Friday, despite a White House request to investigate a lunar flyby.

"After evaluating cost, risk, and technical factors in a project of this magnitude, it is hard to accommodate changes needed for a crewed EM-1 mission at this time", NASA's acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, sent in an email to agency employees that was obtained by The Verge. Life support and related technologies are being tested aboard the International Space Station now, and deep space habitation and propulsion system development activities also are underway. The Government Accountability Office concluded last summer that NASA will have spent some $23 billion through EM-1 developing the SLS rocket, the Orion capsule and ground infrastructure.

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Congress by saying it supported United Nations Security Council resolutions but opposed the imposition of "unilateral sanctions". The North Korean statement said the plan had "been put into the extremely serious phase of implementation".

To include astronauts in the first launch, the Orion capsule would require life support and a fully working launch abort system, which is created to help the crew capsule escape a failure.

The long gap between the SLS's initial test flight and the piloted EM-2 mission, driven in large part by NASA's budget and a variety of technical hurdles, has raised concerns in some quarters about maintaining public and congressional support in a program with years between flights and competing demands on agency funding.

The delay would push back the rocket's second flight beyond 2021, said NASA Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier.

NASA has yet to formally reschedule the EM-1 flight date, but told the GAO it would do so by September 30, the end of the current USA budget year.

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This is the way I push myself back off the ground; this is the way I deal with adversity, and this is the way I get up. He would later backtrack on these comments, announcing he was indeed returning to face his Irish counterpart.

"It's really consistent with our available resources, and while it still has technical risk, we have a good handle on that and how an uncrewed mission will actually help EM-2 be a safer mission when we put crew on there".

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration had hoped to launch the Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket in November 2018. He cited production challenges and the effects of a February tornado at the Michoud Assembly Facility where the SLS core stage is being built as some of the reasons for the slip. "So we knew those had to get added in". Gerstenmaier said NASA needs more time to determine that date and will in a month or two.

Currently, the SLS engine section structural test hardware is being shipped via barge to the Marshall Space Flight Center for testing.

The effort confirmed that the baseline plan to fly EM-1 without crew is still the best approach to enable humans to move sustainably beyond low Earth orbit.

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It said his detention was not related to his work at the university and therefore it could not comment further. North Korea said Kim Sang-dok was arrested "for committing criminal acts", but did not elaborate.

NASA is saying no thanks to the idea of flying astronauts to the moon anytime soon.

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