On March 18 NASA successfully completed the final of eight tests assessing the performance of the core stage for the space agency’s super-heavy lifter. Called the Space Launch System (SLS), it will return humans to the Moon and then evolve to a rocket that can support exploration of Mars. The core stage, built by Boeing using Aerojet Rocketdyne engines, will be a critical component of all variants. It isn’t often that an administration presides over an effort that might be remembered a thousand years hence, but successful development of SLS could be such a program. If human beings are going to walk on the Red Planet anytime soon, the Space Launch System powered by its core stage is likely to get them there. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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