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NASA Adminstrator Charlie Bolden and several members of Congress announced today the decision on NASA's next heavy lift vehicle that will bring humans to asteroids and eventually to Mars. Billed as the most powerful rocket in history the new Space Launch System SLS rocket will combine proven technology from the space shuttle program along with things already developed in the Constellation program "in order to take advantage of proven hardware and cutting-edge tooling and manufacturing technology that will significantly reduce development and operations costs," NASA said. With a rocket over 30 stories tall, it will use a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propulsion system, with a 5 space shuttle main engines and an improved J-2X engine for the upper stage. The SLS will have an initial lift capacity of 70 metric tons (mT) and will be evolvable to 130 mT.

"This launch system will create good-paying American jobs, ensure continued U.S. leadership in space, and inspire millions around the world," said Bolden. "President Obama challenged us to be bold and dream big, and that's exactly what we are doing at NASA. While I was proud to fly on the space shuttle, kids today can now dream of one day walking on Mars."



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