As NASA readies its first crew to Mars, each process is being looked over with a critical eye. There can be no mistakes made. The current status is that NASA is on schedule and budget for its next step in the journey to Mars. One of the primary goals that NASA had set up was the modernization of the ground systems at Kennedy. This updating of the systems is for the integration of Orion. Orion needs to be safely integrated with the new SLS (space launch system). The SLS is NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket that will launch Orion into space. This requires a lot of work and upgrades to just about every single system that they have. Orion, itself, is the new spacecraft that is being built to carry the first crew toward Mars. The pieces of Orion are being built all over the world and will be shipped in pieces back to NASA where it will be assembled.
Recently, assessment of the ground systems, among other aspects of the design, have been approved by engineers, experts, and a review board. Before the launch pad and spacecraft can be put together, experts have to read over hundreds of papers and documents about each design. This is to ensure that the Orion and its new launch pad will be safe to build and launch. The step that NASA has made is to their ground system readiness. You can build launch pads and shuttles all day, but you can’t expect them to get into space without all of the programming and computer systems to make it happen. Though it may not seem like much has happened, it has. NASA is moving toward making history. According to reports, expect to see the very first astronauts to leave Earth and travel to Mars in 2018.