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Manned or unmanned, EM-1 slips

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posted on Apr, 29 2017 @ 09:17 PM
NASA announced that the first flight of the SLS has been slipped into 2019. They had a target date of November of 2018, but will be unable to meet that goal. All three aspects of the system have encountered delays that have eaten into their cushion, and instead of trying to rush, the decision was made to delay the flight to allow for more time to integrate everything. The Orion program will require a full year to integrate with the ESA Service Module, so any delays to delivery will result in delays getting Orion to Kennedy to integrate onto the rocket.

The decision on a crew on the first mission has yet to be decided. The decision on the new launch date will be made by September, after the SM is scheduled to be delivered.

Exploration Mission-1, NASA’s planned first flight of its heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion deep-space crew capsule, won’t make its target launch date of November 2018, the agency said April 27.
Concurring with a Government Accountability Office (GAO) finding that the original target date will be hard to achieve, given delays in both spacecraft and the ground systems needed to launch them, human-spaceflight chief William Gerstenmaier said “maintaining a November 2018 launch readiness date is not in the best interest of the program, and we are in the process of establishing a new target in 2019.”

That target will be set by September, according to Gerstenmaier, who has developed options for the administration of President Donald Trump to include a crew on EM-1. Modifications to the Orion capsule necessary to make that happen would push the mission—originally planned as a three-week unmanned shakedown cruise in lunar orbit—into 2019 in any event, Gerstenmaier has said.

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