NASA is currently in the middle of building the Space Launch System, a spacecraft that runs on light. NASA hopes to use this spacecraft to send individuals into deep space and someday onto planet Mars.
But before sending people into outer space using SLS, the spacecraft has to perform beyond doubt in the form of a test flight. The test mission is slated for 2018 and will take NASA’s uncrewed Orion spacecraft around the far side of the Moon.
The Orion spacecraft may be the chief importance of the trip; however, the Space Launch System will have extra room for other technologies as it’s going to carry an extra micro-satellites along the ride.
The manager of the Space Launch System spacecraft and Payload Integration/Evolution Office at Marshall, Chris Crumbly, said in a statement, “This is unprecedented: to take a cubesat-class payload thousands of miles away from the Earth, out into deep space, and to actually conduct science.”
According to The Verge, one of the micro-satellites the spacecraft will be carrying is Near-Earth Asteroid Scout. This micro-satellite will visit and have a detailed investigation on an asteroid in the Earth’s vicinity.
As stated by Nasa.Gov, Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, also known as the NEA Scout, is a 6U CubeSat, elaborated to a specified degree between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Marshall Space Flight Center of NASA. The NASA agency carefully chooses Near-Earth Asteroid Scout as a candidate secondary payload for Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), the first integrated (uncrewed) flight test of the Space Launch System and Orion Crewed Spacecraft.
Deputy administrator of NASA Dava Newman said, “SLS and the Orion spacecraft are going to take individuals further than we’ve ever taken people in human history.
“Further than we’ve ever been in over four decades, out into deep space and onward to Mars. These technology missions in deep space are really something to pause, reflect on – we’re not just talking about it, we’re doing it. And it’s starting right here.”