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First SLS launch could slip to 2018
Posted: Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 11:01 AM ET (1501 GMT)
Space Launch System (SLS) illustration (NASA) NASA announced Wednesday that its Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket has passed a key review, but also said the rocket may not be ready for its first launch until November 2018, nearly a year later than previously planned. The SLS completed what NASA calls its Key Decision Point C (KDP-C) review, clearing the program to proceed into further development. The KDP-C set an estimated cost of that development at just over $7 billion, but also said the rocket would be ready for its first flight no later than November 2018. NASA had previously indicated SLS would launch on its first mission, EM-1, in December 2017. NASA officials said they are still working towards that earlier date, and the November 2018 date comes from models with a confidence level of 70 percent. Separate KDP-C reviews of SLS ground systems, and of the Orion spacecraft, are planned before NASA officials believe they will have a better estimate of the EM-1 launch date.
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