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Thursday, July 6

NASA's next launch vehicles get new names

Image Credit: NASA

While the focus is currently firmly on manned spaceflight, NASA has announced names for it's next generation of exploration launch vehicles (that's 'rockets' to you and me!). These vehicles will take over from the space shuttle fleet when it is finally retired in 2010.

There are two types of launch vehicles proposed they now called Ares I and Areas V. Ares I, the smaller of the two, will be used to launch the crew exploration vehicle which is a beefed up version of the Apollo command module. Areas V is the heavy lift vehicle and can lift up to 286,000 pounds into orbit.

The names have been chosen to honour the past and look to the future. Ares is an alternative name for Mars, the space programme's future destination. The I and V designations are a tribute to the Saturn I and V rockets which were crucial to the early manned space programme.

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