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Feb 16, 2017 06:58 AM EST

NASA In A Hurry To Get Astronauts To Deep Space; Needs Bigger Life Support System

NASA announces that they are considering astronauts in heavy-lift rocket.
In this handout provided by NASA,The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA's Orion spacecraft mounted atop, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37 at 7:05 a.m. EST on December 5, 2014 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Orion spacecraft orbited Earth twice, reaching an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles above Earth before landing.
(Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

In its current plans, NASA's first launch is scheduled for late 2018. This particular launch does not include a crew for testing the rocket's systems and the capsule - Orion. However, NASA is looking into speeding its plans to take the heavy-lift rocket into space with a crew on board.

The acting NASA administrator, Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., says that the agency is currently studying everything involved in carrying a flew on board the mammoth rocket. And that includes a life support system that is capable for deep space missions.

Originally, the second mammoth mission would hold the crew and that rocket would take off in 2021, as reported by the New York Times. Now, NASA is reviewing the feasibility of such mission because of an earlier launch date.

In the quest to send humans into deep space, NASA is taking a huge risk. The plan was to originally send a crew-less mission to gain confidence before sending a manned one. This enables the agency to test out the environment of a prolonged flight.

Which is why NASA is looking to develop oxygen recovery technologies for deep space missions, as reported by Space Daily. The agency is now looking into two proposals that could help astronauts breathe easier during the long journey. With a team of engineers and experts working from different research groups, the agency is confident that they can supply the needed systems for Orion.

Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix has proposed a soot-free recovery of oxygen from carbon dioxide. While the UMPQUA Research Co. in Myrtle Creek, Oregon proposed a continuous Bosch reactor. Both proposals have been selected and funded by NASA.

It is still unclear if NASA can make the deadline and Orion capable of supporting a whole crew on board given the short time table. But Lightfoot expresses that current United States President Donald Trump has their goals in mind.

So before NASA goes to Mars, they need to test Orion first. Watch the PBS clip below for more details:

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