It was in July 2015 when NASA confirmed the details of one of its most ambitious rockets, the SLS (Space Launch System) , which besides being the most powerful and largest to date, will be responsible to take us to Mars. But before that happens, the SLS will have some space exploration missions , and the agency has already given the details of the first one.
Exploration Mission-1 will be the first mission of this huge rocket capable of exceeding 100 meters high with a capacity of up to 130,000 kilograms of cargo, which is inaugurating a new category of spacecraft . And in this first mission, it is expected to test the effectiveness of the Orion capsule , as well as an interesting exploration satellite system.
13 small CubeSats satellites
During this mission, the SLS will as the main load the Orion capsule , but unmanned, which will be sent into space with a series of scientific instruments, with the intention of bringing us more details of Mars. In addition to this, the SLS will be the first to have a system to transport and release 13 small satellites known as CubeSat , which will be responsible for exploring aspects of the moon and asteroids.
Last year he released information from the first three CubeSat developed by NASA:
- BioSentinel - will be in charge of studying the impact of deep - space radiation on living organisms.
- NEA Scout - explore a small asteroid.
- Lunar Flashlight - Seek ice deposits and other resources on our Moon.
And now with the announcement of the mission, we know the responsibilities of four CubeSat more:
- Skyfire (developed by Lockheed Martin) - fly over the moon to learn more of the surface.
- Lunar IceCube (developed by the State University Moretead) - fly over the moon 100 km altitude in search of water and other resources.
- Lunah-Map - Continue for craters and dark corners of the Moon in search of hydrogen.
- Cusp - will be a space weather station.
Still have six places in the CubeSat mission , which NASA has reported that three of them will contest Cube Quest Challenge , which we will know the winners in 2017, while the other three are reserved for international partners. This mission is scheduled for 2018, and while we wait, NASA has just released an incredible video with the details of this Exploration Mission-1.