NASA is taking the first steps in a long-awaited, massive space walk, aiming to take astronauts to the outer edges of our solar system in the coming decades.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will be launched into the atmosphere from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and fly back down into space, before being docked at a spaceport in California.
The mission will be one of the most ambitious ever undertaken by NASA, and it will take three years for the spacecraft to reach the edge of its planned orbit around the Earth.NASA is seeking to take humans to an area of space known as the Kuiper Belt, a collection of icy, rocky objects around the sun and beyond.
These objects, called the KBO, are thought to contain some of the oldest and most ancient rocks on the planet, with the potential to harbour life.
The vast majority of these objects are believed to be asteroids and comets, which could contain the materials for life.
The goal of the mission is to study the KOB by launching a spacecraft that can measure the properties of these elements and then probe them to determine if they are indeed formed from the bombardment of outer space by the planets.
NASA has already used the technology of an ion thruster to propel the first of the SLS rocket’s stages to a low orbit in December 2020, but the mission has been delayed because of a lack of funds.NASA has been able to use other methods to get the SLC-41 launch vehicle into space but the Space Launch Act of 2018 is expected to bring the agency one step closer to completing the ambitious goal of sending humans to the KIB.
The SLS is designed to carry a pair of spacecraft that will be called Deep Space One and Deep Space 2.
The first mission will carry a sample return system that will return the capsule to Earth.
This will take place on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, where it will be used to prepare the second stage to lift off and take off again.
The Deep Space missions are designed to take advantage of the deep space environment that is expected during a long voyage of exploration.
The SLS will take the crew on a journey to the edge, where they will take part in a two-day journey to a deep orbit.
The spacecraft will be carried on the back of a large booster, where its interior will be prepared for the trip to the deepest part of the Kib.
The crew will then head for the outermost KOB, known as Kuiopar, where the capsule will be attached to a robotic arm.
This robotic arm will carry the spacecraft for a long period of time in order to prepare it for the journey to Mars.
After the journey, the spacecraft will then be detached from the robotic arm and sent back to Earth for reuse.
A final mission, called Deep Sky, will be flown by the robotic leg of the booster.
The return of the sample return vehicle is a critical step to get humans to Mars, and NASA hopes to use this opportunity to study its composition, which would be a key ingredient for life on the Red Planet.
The second mission is called Deep Impact.
This mission will launch the sample-return spacecraft and use the arm to carry the capsule out to a distant target in the Kibo, where a robotic leg will hoist it into orbit and attach it to a parachute.
This parachute will then detach the capsule from the booster and drop it down to Earth at a deep location where it can be examined by a robotic team.
The payload is to carry an array of instruments and a variety of scientific instruments, including a spectrometer and an X-ray spectrometre, which are designed for the next generation of space telescopes.
The final mission is expected in 2021, when NASA will have enough money to complete the mission.
In the meantime, the capsule, its payload, and a small crew will remain at Cape Park.
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