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NASA 'Will Eventually' Retire Its New Mega-Rocket if SpaceX, Blue Origin Can Safely Launch Their Own Powerful Rockets

Slashdot - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 09:00
NASA is building a giant rocket ship to return astronauts to the moon and, later on, ferry the first crews to and from Mars. But agency leaders are already contemplating the retirement of the Space Launch System (SLS), as the towering and yet-to-fly government rocket is called, and the Orion space capsule that'll ride on top. From a report: NASA is anticipating the emergence of two reusable and presumably more affordable mega-rockets that private aerospace companies are creating. Those systems are the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which is being built by Elon Musk's SpaceX; and the New Glenn, a launcher being built by Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin. "I think our view is that if those commercial capabilities come online, we will eventually retire the government system, and just move to a buying launch capacity on those [rockets]," Stephen Jurczyk, NASA's associate administrator, told Business Insider at The Economist Space Summit on November 1. However, NASA may soon find itself in a strange position, since at least one of the two company's systems may beat SLS back to the moon -- and possibly be the first to reach Mars.

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