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NASA starts work on super-size rocket for human space exploration

NASA has unveiled plans for a massive new rocket that will bring its astronauts deeper into outer-space than ever before.

An artist's depiction of what the SLS will look like when it launches.
An artist's depiction of what the SLS will look like when it launches.
Image: Nasa

AMERICA IS TO make its most powerful rocket in almost 40 years, space explorers at NASA revealed today.

The Space Launch System will be NASA’s first exploration-class vehicle since the Saturn V took American astronauts to the moon in 1969. It will allow humans travel deeper into space than ever before.

President Barack Obama told NASA to be “bold” and “dream big” and the space experts have delivered, stating they are ready to “move forward” with the development of a huge rocket that will take astonauts to Mars and beyond.

The heavy-lift launch vehicle will provide a new way for humans to explore space oustide of Earth’s orbit, NASA said at a press conference today.

According to the Associated Press, the SLS will cost about US$35bn but NASA and the Obama administration are adamant that the project will create jobs in the US.

Charles Bolden, NASA’s administrator said the rocket is a safe, affordable and sustainable means of space exploration.

“This launch system will create good-paying American jobs, ensure continued US leadership in space, and inspire millions around the world,” he said.

President Obama challenged us to be bold and dream big, and that’s exactly what we are doing at NASA. While I was proud to fly on the space shuttle, kids today can now dream of one day walking on Mars.

The first flight of the SLS will be at the end of 2017 and NASA claims it will learn more about how the solar system formed, where Earth’s water and organics originated and how life might be sustained in outer-space.

The rocket, carrying the Orion Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle, will be powered by liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Solid rocket boosters will be used in initial development flights but will eventually be replaced by new technologies.

As the design evolves over the next 30 years, the SLS will be able to lift a massive 130 metric tons, dwarfing the power of NASA’s current biggest rocket, which can carry just 25 tons.

Here’s what it will look like when it eventually launches (artist’s depiction):

-Additional reporting by AP

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