NASA is confident now that it will hit its 2019 target of launching its deep space-bound Space Launch System (SLS) in the December 2019 even though a review has suggested that it will most likely be able to fly until mid-2020. It may be noted that the launch date has already been pushed back once by NASA due to some uncalled technical issues. But now, NASA is confident that it will launch its Mars Mission (SLS) rocket in 2019 as it has taken steps to ‘protect’ the launch date.
“While the review of the possible manufacturing and production schedule risks indicate a launch date of June 2020, the agency is managing to December 2019,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot. “Since several of the key risks identified have not been actually realized, we are able to put in place mitigation strategies for those risks to protect the December 2019 date.”
The proposed uncrewed mission, which is known as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) will lay the foundations of NASA’S EM-2. The EM-2 is the first crewed mission which is slated for the year 2023. But even though NASA is facing many setbacks with the EM-1, it plans to still keep the EM-2 on schedule by planning tests for the rocket’s launch abort system before EM-1.
One can clearly see that NASA has an objective to be the first space agency to get humans into deep space and the delays do mean that the agency is trying very hard to get it right in its first attempt itself.
Majority of the new deep space exploration systems seems to be on track. NASA is using the lessons learned from the first time builds to improve its efficiencies into overall production and operations planning. In order to address the schedule risks identified in the review, the agency has established new production performance milestones for the SLS core stage.