SLS director speaks in Mobile on NASA's 'next great ship' - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

SLS director speaks in Mobile on NASA's 'next great ship'

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The director of NASA's Space Launch System Program spoke about NASA's "next great ship" from the deck of the battleship U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile on Wednesday.

Todd May, who grew up in Fairhope, said the SLS, which is managed at the Marshall Space Flight Center, will be the most powerful rocket in the world.

A graduate of Auburn, May was in the area as part of the NASA Business to Business Forum to update business on the progress of SLS. The first unmanned-flight test is scheduled for 2017.

"I grew up on the Gulf Coast," May said in a Marshall Space Flight Center press release. "And down there, we regularly stand on land and look out at the horizon. It beckons, 'What's out there?' Space exploration beckons the same thing.

"We intend to build the 'ship' that will take us to places in the universe we've never been before. And like the fleets that set out to sea, we look forward to the journey that awaits us."  

Meanwhile, Russia is considering banning the United States from using its rocket engines for military communication satellites.

 The ban could affect all of the space programs because NASA also uses Russian engines to put deep space exploration vehicles into orbit.

The United Launch Alliance, which has a rocket facility in Decatur, said a ban would "not halt ULA's launches."

ULA officials said in the "unlikely event that Russia stops supplying the engines, ULA has enough stockpiled for launches over the next several years."

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