NASA interested in payload fairing options for multi-mission SLS capability

November 12th, 2012 by Chris Bergin

SLS managers have asked the aerospace industry for information about the potential use of existing payload fairings for the Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLV). It is hoped that differing fairing options will allow SLS to launch numerous missions outside of its role with the crewed exploration roadmap, missions that require the superior lift capability of the monster rocket.

SLS Fairings:

NASA is exploring options for larger payload fairings to enhance the cargo carrying capabilities for science instruments and other exploration payloads to destinations including Lagrange points, the moon, asteroids and ultimately Mars.

“This is a no-cost examination of the aerospace landscape to identify existing components that could augment the rocket’s architecture as we move beyond the initial Orion configuration,” said Todd May, SLS program manager at the Marshall Center.

“SLS can make challenging human and science missions possible in large part because of the unprecedented size of the payload it can lift. We are hopeful industry may offer some innovative and affordable ideas about alternative fairing and adapter options.”

NASA claim larger payload fairing sizes enabled by SLS could reduce experiment design complexity and the rocket’s high performance can decrease travel time and, by extension, cost and risk of science missions.

SLS’ drive for viability requires it to be a multi-mission capability launch vehicle, given its Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) role is – at least based on the sketchy details of the current evaluations into the exploration roadmap – only utilizes part of its flight rate capability.

Read more: NASA interested in payload fairing options for multi-mission SLS capability | NASA Space Flight.

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