The Space Launch System of NASA has taken a step closer to becoming certified for lift off with a manned spaceflight as it has passed its critical design review. This is going to be the most powerful rocket to have ever been built and there are plans for it to take people to Mars.
The review process has taken 11 weeks and involved 13 teams of scientists and engineers from NASA who reviewed 1,000 documents so as to be able to determine if the rocket concept could be brought into full scale production. The design has now been handed to the Standing Review Board, a board of independent experts.
The next step in getting the world’s most powerful rocket closer to reality is to present the results to the Marshall Center Management Council followed by the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate which is at the headquarters of NASA. The critical review only affects the first three variations of the SLS that have been planned. The first of the iterations is called Block 1 and this has four RS-25 engines and two 177 feet side mounted solid fuel boosters, with the block being 322 feet tall.
The maximum thrust expected from the engines which are solid and liquid fuel comes to 8.4 million pounds and have a payload capacity of 77 tons. The third is to be the most powerful version and this is going to be 384 feet tall and have a maximum thrust that is going to be more than 20% greater than the one that dominated the era of the Apollo, the Saturn V rocket.