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NASA, Aerospace Business Leaders Discuss Space Launch System -- Next U.S. Heavy Lift Spacecraft -- At Industry Day Event

Sept. 29, 2011

J.D. Harrington 
Headquarters, Washington                                    

Dan Kanigan 
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. 
RELEASE: 11-332


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA leaders met Thursday to discuss acquisition 
plans for the agency's new heavy-lift rocket with hundreds of 
representatives of aerospace industry companies, small businesses and 
independent entrepreneurs. The rocket, known as the Space Launch 
System (SLS), will take astronauts farther into space than ever 
before, create high-quality jobs here at home, and provide the 
cornerstone for America's future human space exploration efforts. 

The Industry Day event, hosted by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center 
in Huntsville, Ala., provided industry representatives with an 
overview of the SLS Program and defined its near-term business 
requirements, including details of NASA's acquisition strategy for 
procurement of critical hardware, systems and vehicle elements. 
Marshall is leading design and development of the Space Launch System 
for NASA. 

"This is a milestone moment for NASA, for our industry partners and 
for our economy," NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver told the 
group. "We at NASA have worked hard the past year to analyze and 
select our Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and space launch systems 

Garver said, "The SLS heavy-lift rocket will take American astronauts 
farther into space than any human has ever gone before. It will 
expand our knowledge of the universe, reap benefits to improve life 
on Earth, inspire millions around the world and create good jobs 
right here at home." 

"We're proud to be where we are today," said Marshall Center Director 
Robert Lightfoot. "We've done the due diligence necessary to get to 
this point -- thousands of configuration trades and studies -- and 
now it's time for us to start working on the hardware." 

The event was held during Marshall's quarterly Small Business Alliance 
Meeting at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, part of 
Huntsville's U.S. Space & Rocket Center. 

NASA announced plans for the development of the SLS in September. It 
will carry NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, cargo, equipment 
and science experiments to space -- providing a safe, affordable and 
sustainable means of reaching the moon, asteroids and other 
destinations in the solar system. 

The planned vehicle will be the most powerful ever developed, evolving 
to a 130-metric-ton rocket built around a core stage, which will 
share common design, supplier base, avionics and advanced 
manufacturing techniques with the upper stage. It will use a liquid 
hydrogen and liquid oxygen propulsion system, relying on the space 
shuttle's RS-25 engine for the core stage and the J-2X engine for the 
upper stage. Dual, five-segment solid rocket boosters mounted to the 
sides of the tank will provide additional power. The design of the 
dual boosters on later flights will be determined through competition 
based on cost, performance and interface requirements. 

The Space Launch System builds on the legacies of the Saturn rocket, 
space shuttle and Ares development efforts. It will take advantage of 
proven hardware and cutting-edge tooling and manufacturing 
technologies to significantly reduce development and operations 
costs. This strategy will help NASA maintain the development pace 
necessary to launch the first, full-scale test flight by late 2017. 

For more information about SLS, visit: 


For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: 



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