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NASA announces new possible launch dates for first SLS launch

NASA on May 16th announced the new possible launch dates for first SLS launch, outlining potential launch windows through the first half of 2023, with the first at the end of July 2022.

The calendar of launch windows through June of ’23 can be viewed here [pdf].

The July 26th to August 10th window is the one the agency is clearly targeting for that first launch, but it will not confirm this until after SLS successfully completes the next dress rehearsal countdown attempt in June. That the agency is now showing us potential launch dates in ’23 also suggests it is anticipating the possibility the launch could be delayed that much, especially if it determines it must replace the SLS’s two solid rocket boosters because they have been stacked unused for too long.

SLS was initially planned for a launch in 2015. It is now seven-plus years behind schedule, which is how long it took SpaceX to go from a blank sheet of paper to launching its Falcon Heavy for the first time.

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On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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  • jeff

    This is just a test run. Even if successful, they have to build an entirely new one for a second run. Another seven years?

  • Edward

    You wrote: “SLS was initially planned for a launch in 2015. It is now seven-plus years behind schedule, which is how long it took SpaceX to go from a blank sheet of paper to launching its Falcon Heavy for the first time.

    You are being so unfair! SpaceX started out with a working booster that they only needed to modify four times, but NASA started completely from scratch. Except for the Orion capsule, which Lockheed Martin had to slow-walk in order to match the slow pace of SLS. And the Solid Rocket Boosters, which are made up of Shuttle SRBs. And also the Shuttle main engine, which didn’t need modification, but they still spent extra to make each engine cost four times as much so that they would no longer be reusable. Plus the core stage is a modification from the Shuttle External Tank, but we really should never have expected that reusing Shuttle hardware would make it faster and cheaper than starting from scratch in order to make new hardware that was actually appropriate for the new mission rather than the old hardware that is really only appropriate for a Shuttle mission.

    Plus we should have expected SpaceX to work faster, because they were a new company at the time, with a whopping decade of experience, and NASA only has a mere six decades of experience. You really should ease up on NASA and their rocket-science team: Congress. It’s not like they are trying to get us to the Moon, or to start a space commerce industry and economy, or anything. They are just spending taxpayer dollars in a Keynesian manner in order to boost our failing (flailing?) economy. Did I say tax money? I should have said borrowed money, except that no one is willing to lend us that much, so it is really printed money, these days, which explains our current inflation problem.

    I’m so glad that government has our best interests in mind when it makes its lousy decisions. It gives me that nice warm feeling that the FAA will grant Boca Chica launch approval any year, now.

    Stop laughing! It could happen.

  • Edward: Heh. Now that puts everything in perfect perspective.

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