NASA’s most powerful SLS rocket will soon have to give way to Starship SpaceX

(ORDO NEWS) — The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is NASA‘s most powerful rocket. It outperforms even the Saturn V rockets used on the Apollo missions 50 years ago.

The SLS, using a combination of two solid rocket boosters with a main stage consisting of four repurposed RS-25 engines from the Space Shuttle program, produced 8.8 million pounds of thrust to lift the Orion spacecraft.

NASA advertises the SLS as the only rocket capable of carrying both crew and cargo for its deep space purposes.

However, the Starship being developed by Elon Musk with a Super Heavy launch vehicle in the near future will not only be able to receive the title of the most powerful rocket to be launched into orbit, but will also be considered as an alternative for launching cargo and crew.

Using 33 of SpaceX‘s new Raptor 2 engines, the Super Heavy will produce 17 million pounds of thrust at launch, nearly double that of the SLS.

The Starship itself is powered by six Raptor 2 engines and will be capable of placing more than 990,000 kilograms of crew and cargo into low Earth orbit, more than the current capacity of the SLS.

Starship and Super Heavy are preparing for their first orbital test flight from the SpaceX base in Boca Chica, Texas. Elon Musk has posted a message that a launch attempt could be made before the end of this year.

Starship and Super Heavy together reach 120 meters in height. SpaceX has said it prefers to conduct Starship test flights in Texas, but is also building launch facilities at the Kennedy Space Center, where it launches its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.

The first launch will be from Texas. The Starship will separate from the Super Heavy launch vehicle, which will land on the SpaceX platform 30 kilometers offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

Starship will go into orbit and, having completed at least 1 orbit around the Earth, will splash down in the Pacific Ocean. It is not clear how many test launches will be made from Texas before operations begin in Florida.

NASA has a vested interest in getting Starship ready as soon as possible, as its version will be used for Artemis III.

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