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Marshall Space Fight Center: Beyond Earth

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Beyond Earth

Artist concept of Space Launch System launchExploration beyond Earth will be an enduring legacy to future generations, confirming America's desire to explore, learn and progress. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center leads the design and development of numerous systems that will take us there, and even more designed to help us support life in these unique environments.

The Space Launch System program, managed at Marshall, will develop the heavy-lift vehicle that will launch the crew vehicle, other modules and cargo for these missions. The 130-metric-ton rocket will carry NASA's Orion crew vehicle, cargo, equipment and science experiments to space, providing a safe, affordable and sustainable means of sending explorers on robust, high-value missions to the moon, asteroids and other destinations in the solar system. Additionally, the vehicle will serve as a backup for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. NASA intends to launch the first, full-scale test flight of the Space Launch System by late 2017.

The center also will contribute to the development of exploration life support systems necessary to expand human presence resource systems, lunar dust management methods, habitats and structures.

The Marshall Center also manages exciting science missions that not only dramatically advance understanding of our solar system, but allow NASA to further refine America’s exploration of space beyond low-Earth orbit.

Bringing together government, industry and academic partners, Marshall links science and exploration to open new frontiers for human and robotic exploration and to provide many significant benefits here on Earth.

Lunar Programs

Lunar Reconnaissance OrbiterLunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
The LRO mission will conduct investigations that will prepare for and support future human exploration of the moon.
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Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing SatelliteLunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite
The mission objectives of LCROSS include confirming the presence or absence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the moon's south pole.
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NASA official Apollo 40th Anniversary logoArchive: Apollo 11 40th Anniversary
Apollo 11 helped humankind achieve a remarkable feat of sending mankind to the moon. The journey began at the Marshall Center, where the powerful Saturn V rocket was designed, built, and tested.
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Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Brooke Boen