NASA now aims to launch massive next-generation rocket on debut flight in early 2022

NASA/Frank Michaux

NASA is aiming to fly its massive, next-generation rocket, the Space Launch System, for the first time in February of 2022, a critical test flight on NASA’s journey to send people back to the Moon. However, plenty of tests still need to go well before the much-delayed vehicle can finally take flight.

Confirmation of the new target date, which was rumored in August, comes a day after engineers fully stacked the Space Launch System, or SLS, inside NASA’s massive hangar at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Standing at 322 feet high, the SLS rises taller than the Statue of Liberty. On top of the stack is NASA’s Orion crew capsule, a new spacecraft that’s been developed to carry people into deep space. However, when the SLS flies for the first…

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