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[i]The maiden flight of SLS is scheduled for 2017. In its debut, a 70-metric-ton variant of the rocket will boost an unmanned MPCV to the Moon and back. A second flight in 2021 would aim to repeat the feat with a crewed MPCV. Both launches would feature an SLS with a core stage powered by a cluster of four or five RS-25D engines Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne originally built for the space shuttle.
NASA recently proposed adding $130 million to Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s $1.5 billion J-2X contract to cover work the company would need to do to support use of the existing RS-25D engines for four or five initial SLS flights.
Because NASA is anticipating flat budgets for SLS for the next several years, the agency now plans to put J-2X development on a four-year hold after a battery of tests on the engine wrap up some time in the 2013-2014 timeframe, Stanfield said.[/i]
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