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NASA to study risks & costs of flying crew on Saturn V-class SLS
NASA will study the risks and costs of sending astronauts on the first flight of a gigantic new rocket that is being built to explore deep space, the space agency’s acting administrator Robert Lightfoot announced.
The U.S. space agency aims to test the Saturn V-class Space Launch System rocket in late 2018 with an unscrewed Orion crew capsule that will fly around the Moon. Later it will be capsule will be used to sent astronauts into deep space.
In a memo to NASA employees, Lightfoot added, “I know the challenges associated with such a proposition, like reviewing the technical feasibility, additional resources needed, and clearly the extra work would require a different launch date.”
The acting administrator further added that he wanted to hear about the opportunities the mission could present to boost the effort of the first crewed flight of the Saturn V-class Space Launch System.
Deadly accidents that left several astronauts dead and slapped major setbacks on NASA during two crewed shuttle missions in the past have made the agency more risk averse.
Flying astronauts on the first flight of a new rocket is risky but not unprecedented. NASA astronauts Bob Crippen and John Young piloted the first shuttle that was launched in 1981.