NASA is considering the use of the Falcon Heavy super-heavy rocket and the ICPS (Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage) rocket stage for the first Orion manned mission to the Moon, writes ArsTechnica.
The American edition talks about the discussion that unfolded at the space agency. Participating in the conversation, the head of NASA, Jim Brydenstein did not rule out that for the landing of astronauts on the moon in 2024 can be used Falcon Heavy and ICPS.
According to the head of the department of manned flights of the space agency William Gerstenmayer, for this it is necessary to solve the problem of fueling the Orion lunar-Martian spacecraft when it is in the head part of the Falcon Heavy horizontal position, increase the diameter of the head fairing of the rocket and remove the carrier on the side accelerators extra load.
At the same time, the super-heavy SLS (Space Launch System) rocket originally created for missions to deep space is still considered to be a priority launch vehicle for the Orion.
In March, Brydenstein assured US Vice President Mike Pence that NASA will accelerate the development of the SLS. In particular, the first test flight of the carrier (in unmanned mode) is to take place in 2020, and the manned flyby of the moon – in 2022.
The only flight of the SpaceX super-heavy rocket Falcon Heavy took place in February 2018. In the maximum configuration, the carrier is capable of delivering up to 64 tons to low Earth orbit.
In December 2014, the Orion spacecraft created by Lockheed Martin made its first flight.
The ICPS is the second stage of the SLS rocket created by the ULA (United Launch Alliance) Alliance. The first flight of the carrier is scheduled for 2020.
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