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NASA scrambles to make the Space Launch System more affordable

The challenge of commercial heavy lift, such as the Falcon Heavy and New Glenn, places pressure on the space agency’s big rocket.
Recently SpaceX made history again by launching a reused Dragon spacecraft with a version of the Falcon 9 that had a reused first stage rocket, thus paving the way for space launches at a significantly reduced cost. At the same time, SpaceX is finally getting ready for the first test of the Falcon Heavy, which will also have a reusable first stage rocket and two reusable strap-on rockets. Whimsically, CEO Elon Musk intends to use the test launch to place his Tesla Roadster electric car in orbit around Mars. Then, Ars Technica is reporting that NASA is investigating ways to make its heavy-lift Space Launch System more affordable to build and to operate. The announcement is the latest chapter in the story of a rocket that was created in response to one of the more obscure, yet damaging, public policy blunders of the Obama administration, the cancellation of the Constellation space exploration program. The origin of the Space Launch System The Space Launch System was born in the wake of...