NASA and its industry partners around the country also made swift progress on the Space Launch System (SLS) this year, testing and developing new components and improving on existing hardware. New construction on the largest rocket ever built is enabled by existing, proven technology, like the space shuttle main engines that will power the first stage of the rocket. The new J-2X engine, which is targeted to power the upper stage of the rocket, underwent a battery of tests that broke duration records and pushed the engine design to its limits.The Orion, SLS, and Ground Systems Development and Operations programs also reached their critical milestones this year each with an approved system requirement review and system definition review. Those pivotal steps allowed these programs to move from concept into its preliminary design phase and all remain on target for its first flight test in 2017.
NASA Makes Unprecedented Return To Mars, Advances Commercial Spaceflight And Adds To Its Amazing Research And Discoveries In 2012
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