back to article NASA reconfirms 2019 will see first launch of Space Launch System

NASA has reconfirmed it hopes to stage the first flight of its Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft in December 2019, but also conceded such a big build could run late. The agency has announced the outcome of the latest review of its launch schedule for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), following its previous assessment that …

  1. 27escape

    Opportunity missed

    To use "Go!" by Public Service Broadcasting as their music, would have been awesome

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Opportunity missed

      Should have used Inspiral Carpets Saturn V

  2. macjules

    Bit small for a Mars shot

    4 astronauts in that tiny capsule for 9 months there and back again? Even the Apollo capsules looked larger than that.

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Bit small for a Mars shot

      They only need to be in there for launch/re-entry - the idea is that habitation modules (both for transit and/or on Mars) would be launched separately. The different spacecraft would rendezvous in earth orbit for crew transfer.

      edit: Also, the SLS capsule (Orion) is actually bigger than the Apollo equivalent.

    2. Beachrider

      Re: Bit small for a Mars shot

      They won't be in the capsule. The Apollo astronauts weren't in the capsule for Lunar trip, either.

  3. Kharkov

    It's Apollo 8... minus the people

    Really expensive rocket? Check.

    Infrequent launch schedule? Check.

    No clear mission outlined for it? Check.

    So... just a REALLY expensive engineering test that will do no science, nor leave any Moon observers behind, nor improve our understanding of the Moon.

    And 2 to 4 years later, they’ll do it again, with people!

    1. Pete4000uk

      Re: It's Apollo 8... minus the people

      Yes, but it provides work for ex shuttle contractors!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: It's Apollo 8... minus the people

        Yes, but it provides work for ex shuttle contractors!

        Every single state - they even have a component supplier in N Dakota

      2. Beachrider

        Re: It's Apollo 8... minus the people

        Shuttle contractors have been out of work for 6 years.

    2. rh587

      Re: It's Apollo 8... minus the people

      And 2 to 4 years later, they’ll do it again, with people!

      Or not. Hands up who actually thinks it'll ever fly crewed? Falcon Heavy by the end of this year (or maybe January), Falcon Crew next year, New Glenn is up. Then BFR (okay, that one's on "Elon Time"). The Senate Launch System is going to be obsolete before it ever lifts a human or production payload.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: It's Apollo 8... minus the people

      well, since _I_ happened to be alive in 1968, AND watched every launch and space-based broadcast I could, which means I have a pretty good understanding of what was going on at the time, you have to consider why Apollo 8 was launched before you say it will "do no science" etc.. There was also at least one unmanned Saturn V launch prior to that, one of which was filmed as part of a Star Trek episode (ca 1967).

      There were several 'dry run' launches during the moon program. Apollo 7 (earth orbit only), Apollo 8 (moon orbit only), Apollo 9 (dress rehearsal with LEM in earth orbit), Apollo 10 (dress rehearsal with LEM in lunar orbit), and then Apollo 11 where they actually landed the thing. It was all about bringing the astronauts BACK, and not having a spectactular disaster followed by a funeral (like Apollo I) on the front page of the newspapers for a week.

      What saddens ME is that *POLITICS* shifted the budget and national attention away from extraterrestrial exploration and *WASTED* MANY TIMES THE FUNDS that NASA was spending, on social programs and "entitlements" (to buy votes for politicians to increase and/or stay in power).

      I'd much rather buy rockets for "dry run" launches. At least THAT way you get a rocket. Waste the same amount on "austerity" or "social programs" or "entitlements" and you get what you paid for. Nothing, and more empty palms stuck in your face, demanding MORE.

  4. Baldrickk


    It looks pretty kerbal in design to me - in that it looks almost exactly like my go-to heavy lifter design.

    - Orange tank (check)

    - Quad nozzle base engine unit (white) (check)

    - Big boosters on the side (check)

    Art imitating life or life imitating art (I assume the former)

    The gravity turn in the video looks kinda late compared to the visible atmosphere though. Is it?

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: Kerbal

      I hope it's more successful than my typical KSP launch.

    2. DNTP

      Re: Kerbal

      Many Kerbal parts- particularly the ones introduced around the Asteroid Redirect update way back in beta- are in fact modeled on real or planned NASA (or other) rocket components. The Quad superheavy lifter was specifically designed after the SLS unit.

  5. Andy The Hat Silver badge


    "the first flight of its Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft in December 2019"

    Or possibly much later to be assured that the arse in the White House doesn't still insist on a manned first flight ...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: 2019?

      Perhaps we can kill two birds with one stone, and Trump can crew it.

      Musk's first flight with Dragon put an orange cheese into orbit, so there's a precedent. Not to mention Ham in the first Mercury capsule...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Orion Spacecraft

      I keep misreading that as Onion Spacecraft - let's hope it doesn't end in tears.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Orion Spacecraft

        Good, it's not just me then!

  6. Bassey

    House of Cards

    That music seemed to "Borrow" quite heavily from the House of Cards intro. Let's hope that isn't an omen!

  7. Red Ted

    Oh that Orion spaceship

    I was hoping for a proper Orion Class spaceship and none of this messing about with chemical rockets...

  8. Eddy Ito

    Oh shit, they punched a hole in the cloud! Better get patching folks.

    The one with dew drops in the pocket, thanks.

  9. Tom Paine

    #NASA reckons the EM-1 costs are still within 15 per cent of budget,

    So, running 15% over budget already with less than 30 months to blue touchpaper day. Hey, perhaps that number will go down as the deadline approaches! Right, kids?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what are those rivet shaped marks @:23s into the video?

  11. David 164

    The best thing for NASA is that this explodes in a great ball of fire and thus end this wasteful project once and for all.

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