NASA - then & now
On January 10, 1962 NASA began developing the Saturn V rocket (still the most powerful rocket to have ever flown). Just five years later, on November 9, 1967, it flew its maiden flight. The total cost to develop and build the first rocket (Apollo 4) was 185 million dollars (adjusted about 2 billion dollars today).
In November of 2005, NASA began developing the Ares rockets (later on becoming the Space Launch System). Having spent over 18 billion dollars on the program it's still not expected to fly until summer of 2020.
Let's recap -
- Apollo V: 5 years - 2 billion dollars spent
- SLS: 15 years - over 18 billion dollars spent
Oh yeah, one thing I forgot to mention, after the SLS flies it's first mission the Saturn V will STILL be the most powerful rocket to have ever flown. How in our modern technological age is this possible?
It is possible because of the 4 year cycle of American funding politics.
Its a shame I know, but we have not had the political will to have manned missions to the planets.
But the SLS will be the most powerful.
Facinating. I love this stuff. Thanks for the link, ttdtt.
Just last week I had the opportunity to visit the Discovery shuttle at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
The first block of the SLS will not be more powerful. The article you linked unfortunately has a very misleading headline. But here are the actual numbers the article gives: We have a payload mass to LEO of about 122.4 metric tons [135 tons] for Saturn V . . . Block 1 (SLS), will have a LEO payload capacity of 77 tons (70 metric tons).
It's not until later variants of the SLS (expected to fly in the late 2020s) that we see a more powerful rocket: Block 2 will max out at 143 tons (130 metric tons) to LEO.