NASA moves ahead with new SLS rocket design

(CNN/NASA) – NASA is getting closer to getting its next-generation rocket off the ground. These are artist concept images of the new Space Launch System, or SLS. Once complete, the high-tech rockets would carry astronauts into orbit and beyond — perhaps even to Mars.

The space agency says it has completed a major review of the SLS plans and approved development. It’s the first time NASA has done this since the creation of the space shuttle.

NASA officials hope to have the first SLS launch in about four years — by November 2018.

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