Have you, like us, been missing the rumble and hiss of a good old-fashioned NASA launch? Since the space shuttle retired this summer, there have been a few space payload deliveries, sure — but it's just not the same when it's not a human launch system we're talking about. There was always something special about that guttural roar and plume of white steam streaming from the launchpad.
Today, NASA officially announced the design of its forthcoming Space Launch System--a heavy-lift rocket capable of taking humans into deep space. It will be the primary vehicle to replace the Space Shuttle, but with significantly more power—enough to reach Mars.