List of Space Launch System launches


Configurations of the Space Launch System – Block 1 with the ICPS, Block 1B with the EUS, and Block 2 with upgraded boosters and larger payload fairing.

As of 2019, four flights of the Space Launch System (SLS) – a Shuttle-derived, super heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle – are planned for the 2020s. The current launch manifest includes three flights in support of the Artemis program, a human spaceflight project aimed at establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon. The flights will launch from the vehicle's dedicated pad at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39B (LC-39B), and will use its Block 1 configuration with a modified Delta Cryogenic Second Stage known as the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS).

Future launches

Flight No. Date / time (UTC) Configuration Payload Orbit Outcome
1 NET January 2022 [1] Block 1 Crew TLI Planned
Uncrewed Maiden flight of the SLS, carrying the Artemis 1 mission hardware and cubesats for ten missions in the CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI), and three missions in the Cube Quest Challenge.[2][3] The payloads will be sent on a trans-lunar injection trajectory.[4][5]
2 NET September 2023[6] Block 1 Crew
TLI Planned
Crewed, lunar flyby. Carrying the Artemis 2 mission hardware, along with numerous cubesats to be selected through the CSLI.[7][8]
3 NET October 2024 Block 1 Crew[9]
Selenocentric Planned
Crewed lunar rendezvous and landing. Carrying the Artemis 3 mission hardware.[10]

Proposed launches

In early 2019, then-Associate Administrator for Human Exploration William H. Gerstenmaier drafted a proposal for five more launches of SLS Block 1B launch vehicles between 2024 and 2028 in support of the Artemis program. These include four crewed launches of the Orion spacecraft.[11][12]

In 2012, Skylab II was proposed by an engineer working with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. It would use the EUS hydrogen tank to build a 21st-century version of Skylab.[13][14][15]

The SLS has been proposed as the launch vehicle for the future Large UV Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR) space telescope, which will have a main segmented mirror between 8 and 16 meters in diameter,[16] making it 300 times more powerful than Hubble Space Telescope.[17] It would be deployed at the Earth-Sun L2 point in 2035.[16][18][19]

Proposals by Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Space Systems Loral, and Nanoracks to build the Deep Space Habitat – a spacecraft with a large enough living space for humans to travel to destinations such as Mars, near Earth asteroids, or cislunar space – all envisioned a launch aboard an SLS vehicle.[20]

The proposed Europa Lander, which had formerly been a part of the Europa Clipper mission, was proposed to be launched aboard an SLS in the mid-2010s.[21] The joint NASA-ESA Titan Saturn System Mission proposal envisioned the SLS as an option for launch.[22][23] On 10 February 2021, it was announced the program would no longer be considering the SLS. Instead, the program would be considering a commercial launch vehicle.[24] In July 2021, NASA announced that instead of SLS, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy would be used to launch Europa Clipper.[25] In addition to being much less expensive to launch, the shaking caused by the SLS's solid-fuel boosters would have required expensive changes to the Europa Clipper itself. The total cost savings was estimated at US$2 billion.[26]

The SLS has also been proposed by Boeing as a launch vehicle for a Uranus probe concept developed by NASA. The rocket would "deliver a small payload into orbit around Uranus and a shallow probe into the planet's atmosphere". The mission would study the Uranian atmosphere, magnetic and thermal characteristics, gravitational harmonics, as well as do flybys of Uranian moons.[18][27] In addition, a 2017 study suggested that a single SLS Block 1B launch vehicle could launch two spacecraft, one to each ice giant, with launch dates suggested from 2024 to 2037 followed by a four-year transit time.[28]

See also


  1. ^ Sloss, Philip (29 September 2021). "EGS, Jacobs completing first round of Artemis 1 pre-launch integrated tests prior to Orion stacking". Archived from the original on 29 September 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  2. ^ Foust, Jeff (21 May 2019). "In 2020, NASA Will Send Living Things to Deep Space for First Time Since Apollo". Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019. BioSentinel is one of 13 cubesats flying aboard the Artemis 1 mission, which is currently targeted for mid-2020. [...] The other 12 cubesats flying aboard Artemis 1 are a diverse lot. For example, the Lunar Flashlight and Lunar IceCube missions will hunt for signs of water ice on the moon, and Near-Earth Asteroid Scout will use a solar sail to rendezvous with a space rock.
  3. ^ Northon, Karen (9 June 2017). "Three DIY CubeSats Score Rides on Exploration Mission-1". National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019. NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has awarded rides for three small spacecraft on the agency's newest rocket, and $20,000 each in prize money, to the winning teams of citizen solvers competing in the semi-final round of the agency’s Cube Quest Challenge.
  4. ^ Crane, Aimee (11 June 2019). "Artemis 1 Flight Control Team Simulates Mission Scenarios". National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019. ...after the Space Launch System performs the Trans-Lunar Injection burn that sends the spacecraft out of Earth orbit and toward the Moon.
  5. ^ Clark, Stephen (22 July 2019). "First moon-bound Orion crew capsule declared complete, major tests remain". SpaceflightNow. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019. The Artemis 1 mission profile. Credit: NASA [...] The Artemis 1 mission will send the Orion spacecraft into a distant retrograde lunar orbit and back...
  6. ^ Sloss, Philip (31 May 2021). "NASA evaluating schedule, launch date forecasts for Artemis 2". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  7. ^ Hill, Denise (6 August 2019). "NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative Opens Call for Payloads on Artemis 2 Mission". National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019. NASA is seeking proposals from U.S. small satellite developers to fly their CubeSat missions as secondary payloads aboard the SLS on the Artemis 2 mission under the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI).
  8. ^ Klotz, Irene (5 August 2019). "NASA Scouting Cubesats For Artemis-2 Mission". Aviation Week. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019. NASA on Aug. 5 released a solicitation for cubesats to ride along with the first crewed flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, with the caveat that selected projects fill strategic knowledge gaps for future lunar and Mars exploration.
  9. ^ Loff, Sarah (15 October 2019). "NASA Commits to Future Artemis Missions With More SLS Rocket Stages". NASA. Retrieved 16 October 2019. Quote:"NASA aims to use the first EUS on the Artemis IV mission"
  10. ^ Grush, Loren (22 May 2018). "The first three missions of NASA's next big rocket will have to settle for a less-powerful ride". The Verge. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019. But now NASA is going to fly all three missions — EM-1, EM-2, and Europa Clipper — on Block 1. [...] According to the memo, NASA will aim to have the second platform ready for a Block 1B launch in the beginning of 2024.
  11. ^ Berger, Eric (20 May 2019). "NASA's full Artemis plan revealed: 37 launches and a lunar outpost". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 23 May 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019. NASA's "notional" plan for a human return to the Moon by 2024, and an outpost by 2028.
  12. ^ Foust, Jeff (24 May 2019). "NASA Has a Full Plate of Lunar Missions Before Astronauts Can Return to Moon". Archived from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019. A NASA infographic shows the proposed timeline for landing astronauts on the moon in 2024 and building a sustained human presence on the lunar surface and in orbit by 2028. [...] After Artemis 3, NASA would launch four additional crewed missions to the lunar surface between 2025 and 2028.
  13. ^ Markus Hammonds (14 April 2013). "Skylab II:Living Beyond the Dark Side of the Moon". Discovery.
  14. ^ "Deep Space Habitat module concepts outlined for BEO exploration". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  15. ^ Frank Morring, Jr. (22 October 2012). "NASA Deep-Space Program Gaining Focus". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  16. ^ a b SLS Launched Missions Concept Studies for LUVOIR Mission SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015; August 9-13, 2015; San Diego, California; UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts VII; August 9-10, 2015; San Diego, California; August 9, 2015
  17. ^ The Space Launch System—the most powerful rocket ever built Universe Today, published by PhysOrg July 31, 2017
  18. ^ a b Chris Gebhardt (20 November 2013). "New SLS mission options explored via new Large Upper Stage".
  19. ^ Scoles, Sarah (30 March 2016). "NASA Considers Its Next Flagship Space Telescope". Scientific American. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  20. ^ Boeing's deep space habitat could be home for Mars astronauts Mariella Moon, Engadget April 4, 2017
  21. ^ JPL moves ahead with Mars and Europa missions despite funding uncertainty Jeff Foust July 18, 2017
  22. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  23. ^ NASA's Space Launch System: A Capability for Deep Space Exploration Stephen Creech, Space Launch System (SLS) Program Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  24. ^ NASA to use commercial launch vehicle for Europa Clipper Jeff Foust February 10, 2021
  25. ^ Potter, Sean (23 July 2021). "NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for the Europa Clipper Mission" (Press release). NASA. Retrieved 23 July 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  26. ^ "SpaceX to launch the Europa Clipper mission for a bargain price". Ars Technica. 23 July 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  27. ^ "Space Launch System Exploration, Science, Security" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  28. ^ Ice Giants - Pre-decadal Survey NASA, 2017 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

External links

  • Space Launch System at NASA
  • Space Launch System at Boeing