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News Story Source: http://www.nextbigfuture.com
NASA has delayed the first launch of its heavy-payload rocket until 2019 and decided against an idea floated by the White House to put astronauts aboard the capsule that is set to fly around the moon, the U.S. space agency said on Friday.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration had already delayed the original launch target of Dec 2016 (set in 2010) to November 2018. The rocket will send the deep-space Orion capsule on a high lunar orbit.
Adding systems to support a crew would have cost NASA $600 million to $900 million more and would likely have delayed the flight to 2020.
Even without a crew, the SLS will not be ready to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida until 2019, Lightfoot said, adding that the agency would have a more specific timeframe in about a month.
The delay would push back the rocket's second flight beyond 2021.
By the end of the next fiscal year on September 30, 2018, NASA will have spent $23 billion on the rocket, capsule, la
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