NASA reveals its most powerful rocket launcher ever
Armed with an asteroid hunter, lunar flashlight and DNA kit, NASA will launch the unmanned Orion spacecraft in 2018 using the Space Launch System...
Washington: Armed with an asteroid hunter, lunar flashlight and DNA kit, NASA will launch the unmanned Orion spacecraft in 2018 using the Space Launch System (SLS) - its largest, most powerful rocket booster ever built. The US space agency plans to use the SLS's massive lift capability to carry nearly a dozen nano-satellites to conduct science experiments beyond low-Earth orbit and eventually, Mars.
The SLS will launch Orion on an uncrewed test flight to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon. Tucked inside the stage adapter, the ring connecting Orion to the top propulsion stage of the SLS will be 11 self-contained small satellites, each about the size of a large shoebox. The secondary payloads are Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) Scout, Lunar Flashlight and BioSentinel.
NEA Scout, using solar sail propulsion, will fly by a small asteroid, taking pictures and making observations that will enhance the current understanding of an the asteroid environment and will yield key information for future astronauts exploring an asteroid. The rocket will be the strongest ever built by NASA.