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It ain’t gonna happen: In trying to figure out what to do with SLS/Orion, NASA has admitted that the earliest any crew mission to an asteroid can occur is now 2024.
I could quote from the article, but then I’d have to quote the entire article and comment on the absurdity of practically every sentence. NASA hasn’t the faintest idea what to do with SLS, it isn’t designed to do much of anything, and it doesn’t have the funding to anything even if they knew what they wanted to do with it. Hence, the constant scheduling rearrangements, all designed to push the actual manned flights farther and farther into the future.
The article does point out how NASA is now planning to fly its first crewed mission on SLS/Orion using an untested upper stage, since the rocket costs so much to launch they can’t afford to spend the money on an unmanned test flight beforehand. Meanwhile, they are demanding that SpaceX and Boeing do all kinds of unmanned test flights with their manned capsules at great cost to these companies, before allowing any astronauts on board.
As I’ve said repeatedly, this rocket is never going to fly anyone anywhere. By 2020 several private companies will be sending humans into space regularly at far less cost and with far greater capabilities. Congress will finally realize that they can spread their pork around more effectively by funding these companies instead, and they will cancel this bloated and wasteful program.