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Public-Private Partnership between City of Hermosa Beach and NRG eVgo Brings New Electric Car Fast-Charging Station to Popular California Beach Destination

September 5, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, Politics

Freedom Station® features first SAE Combo fast-charger install in greater Los Angeles metro area

Photo courtesy of NRG

Photo courtesy of NRG

Hermosa Beach, CALIF. –The City of Hermosa Beach and NRG eVgo (ee-vee-go), a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., introduced the first electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging Freedom Station® installation on public land in California today. Mayor Michael DiVirgilio and eVgo Vice President Terry O’Day celebrated today’s milestone for this new EV charging access by cutting the ribbon to officially open the station for public use. This public-private partnership makes fast, convenient EV charging a reality for visitors and residents of Hermosa Beach.

The Freedom Station is the first in Los Angeles County’s South Bay and features the first SAE Combo fast-charger install in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Freedom Station, located in the municipal parking garage at 1301 Hermosa Avenue, supports all EV drivers; regardless of what kind of electric vehicle they drive and expands the eVgo network to 28 fast-charge sites in the Los Angeles area giving EV drivers new freedom to maximize the use of their EVs in the region.

The City of Hermosa Beach was selected by eVgo as a strategic partner in the opening of the Freedom Station as the City is a long-time leader in sustainability through its carbon neutral campaign, and the South Bay of Los Angeles touts the highest density of registered EVs in the area. Supporting the needs of environmentally-conscious visitors and residents is part of the City’s sustainability strategy and this eVgo charging station enables EV drivers to conveniently recharge their vehicles  near Hermosa Beach’s scenic beach, lively pier and eclectic downtown.

“Our beach, restaurants and entertainment options, as well as our central location along the Pacific Coast Highway, make the city of Hermosa Beach the perfect location for the opening of a NRG eVgo Freedom Station,” said Michael DiVirgilio, Mayor, Hermosa Beach, Calif. “We’re proud to share the Southern California beach lifestyle with the electric car drivers of the South Bay and continue our City’s carbon neutral campaign by offering another resource for electric vehicle drivers within Hermosa Beach.”

“We are committed to building a comprehensive charging infrastructure for Californians. We have been encouraged by the support of partners like the City of Hermosa Beach,” said Terry O’Day, Vice President for NRG eVgo. “This public-private Freedom Station installation is our first municipal development in the state and a supportive step forward in delivering on our mission to make it even easier to choose and drive electric.”

All Freedom Station sites currently include CHAdeMO DC fast chargers that can charge an electric vehicle in less than 30 minutes, as well as a standard Level 2 charger to serve EVs that do not have a fast charging option.  By adding SAE Combo DC fast chargers at California Freedom Station locations, eVgo furthers its commitment to support all EV drivers whatever they drive and however they choose to charge. Most sites are available 24/7, are positioned near retail stores and restaurants to provide the option to shop or eat while charging and are available to area EV drivers through a variety of charging plans or a no subscription pay per use option.

eVgo is building a network of more than 200 Freedom Station fast-charging sites as well as the infrastructure to support Level 2 charging at multi-family residences and workplaces throughout the state of California. The eVgo network is designed to support electric vehicle drivers whenever and wherever they choose to charge – at home, at work, on the road, at their apartment community or even at the airport.

About Hermosa Beach

Founded in 1907, Hermosa Beach is known as “The Best Little Beach City.” Named “Southern California’s Greenest City” for its work to protect the environment, it is a thriving community of some 20,000 residents located on the southern end of Santa Monica Bay in Los Angeles County, and its beaches have been ranked among the best in the world. To learn more, please visit

About NRG eVgo

The NRG eVgo SM network gives electric vehicle (EV) owners new freedom and range confidence via home and workplace charging docks, plus a network of fast charging stations conveniently located at retailers along major transportation corridors within eVgo cities. Service plans offered by eVgo can provide EV owners a home or workplace charger and use of eVgo’s Freedom Station® sites and other public charging stations.  eVgo is a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 250 company at the forefront of changing how people think about, buy and use energy. Through eVgo, NRG will provide access to hundreds of public charging sites across the United States.  To find out more, or to join the eVgo network, visit Connect with eVgo on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgevgo.

This article is a repost, credit: eVgo.

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The Paulson Institute Announces New Focus on Climate Change and Air Quality in the United States and China

September 5, 2014 in China, Climate Change, Environment, EV News, Politics, Pollution

Hank Paulson Photo courtesy of Paulson Institute

Hank Paulson
Photo courtesy of Paulson Institute

Chicago, IL— The Paulson Institute today (9-4-14) announced the launch of the Climate Change and Air Quality Program. Through research, projects and advocacy, the program will advance efforts in the United States and China to curb the impacts of climate change and work toward solutions for the air pollution problem, ultimately contributing to sustainable and mutually beneficial economic growth.

“Climate change is among the most critical issues of importance to the US-China relationship, and I am delighted that the Institute is launching this new program. It’s clear that China and the United States can and must play a leadership role in addressing the global challenge of climate change, and the Paulson Institute is well-positioned to do meaningful work in this area,” Mr. Paulson said.

The Paulson Institute is a “think and do tank” that aims to advance sustainable economic growth, a cleaner environment and cross-border investment in the United States and China. The Institute was founded at the University of Chicago in 2011 and maintains offices in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Beijing. In tandem with partners around the globe, its work is comprised of research, advocacy, and projects to promote new ideas and models that can have a positive impact in the United States and China and foster stronger ties between the two countries.

The Institute’s new Climate Change and Air Quality Program will focus initially in China on helping to tackle the country’s air quality problem. Projects will kick off this month in Beijing, where international and Chinese experts will share strategies for advancing China’s regional air pollution initiatives, discuss improved enforcement of clean air actions, and identify metrics to measure compliance with the government’s policies and targets.

In the United States, the Institute has also become actively engaged in climate change issues through Mr. Paulson’s co-sponsorship of the Risky Business Project, which explores the economic risks that climate change poses to the United States economy. Additionally, the new program will serve as a complement to the Institute’s initiatives on sustainable urbanization and conservation.

The Climate Change and Air Quality Program’s work in China will be led by Ellen Carberry. Prior to joining the Paulson Institute, Ms. Carberry was the founder and Managing Director of the China Greentech Initiative in Beijing. With the launch of the new program, there will be a significant increase in the number of professionals working in the Paulson Institute Beijing office.

The scope of the Paulson Institute’s Climate Change and Air Quality Program will consist of three aspects:

  1. Research: using data analytics to identify the most effective and economically sustainable solutions to China’s air quality problems.
  2. Projects: working on scalable, multi-partner projects to address China’s air pollution problems, initiatives that will serve as showcases for subsequent application across China.
  3. Advocacy: to promote best practices both in the marketplace and with government for broader adoption across China.

“Our aim with this new Paulson Institute Program is to help drive practical and pragmatic solutions to the problems of air pollution and climate change. We believe in the power of collaboration across public and private organizations—particularly in China and the United States—to spur transformative actions that address these challenges,” said Ms. Carberry. “This global problem can only be solved if our countries are working together, and we look forward to engaging in this work.”

This article is a repost (9-4-14), credit: Paulson Institute.

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Seneca ready to test electric buses in passenger service

September 4, 2014 in Electric Bus, Electric Vehicles, EV News, Politics

Image courtesy of City of Seneca

Image courtesy of City of Seneca

Seneca, SC – August 30, 2014 – The City of Seneca and Clemson Area Transit (CAT) are ready to begin the final deployment phase of the four Proterra electric buses: passenger service. Funded by a Federal Transit Agency grant awarded in 2011, the buses were recently delivered to Seneca for planned testing and deployment procedures.

Starting September 3, Seneca will place the electric buses into passenger service, allowing the public to try out the new buses for the first time. This final phase of deployment is to ensure that the electric buses can meet the demands of passenger service. The only change in service, other than reduced bus noise and emissions, is the relocation of the downtown stop to the lower level of the park where the new fast charger has been installed.

“CATbus is committed to delivering high quality transit service to our community with reliable and safe buses,” says Al Babinicz, CEO of Clemson Area Transit. “The electric buses represent the most advanced technology in the transit industry. We are excited about the opportunity to operate the only all-electric bus system in the nation operating electric buses made in South Carolina. What we are seeing today is part of an extensive and planned testing protocol to ensure that these buses can effectively operate within our CATbus service area.

Proterra bus charger Photo courtesy of Jim Bandy (Seneca)

Proterra bus charger
Photo courtesy of Jim Bandy (Seneca)

In mid-July, CAT drivers completed a refresher-training course on the electric buses, after which the buses began a series of scheduled field tests. Proterra has also completed a number of upgrades and tests related to the advanced fast charging stations, located downtown and at Oconee Medical Center. “With any new technology, it is essential to conduct extensive testing and some of that testing must take place on location,” said Steve Clermont, a program manager with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), who are assisting Seneca with their electric bus deployment project. “We have a plan to fully test all operational aspects of the electric bus. As we progress through testing, the project team, including CAT and Proterra, evaluate the results and make recommendations on next steps.”

Seneca City Administrator Greg Dietterick is optimistic. “The City has been providing transit for seven years now. As an electric service provider and partner in innovation, we look forward to seeing electric buses that run cleaner and more efficiently on domestic power. This is a unique opportunity for Seneca and we sincerely appreciate Proterra’s efforts at making this a success. They have been a tremendous partner throughout this process.”

Ryan Popple, Chief Executive Officer of Proterra added, “This project is an important element of our strategy for innovation. By deploying our Electric Vehicles with a local fleet, we can benefit from their operating experience first-hand. Further, these new routes are the first test of our technology in a small city environment. The mix of rural, suburban, campus and urban miles demonstrate that clean, quiet, efficient electric vehicles are ready to serve the broader transit market. We hope that other cities and fleet operators can benefit from the experience gained by CAT, CTE and the City of Seneca in EV transit technology.”

About City of Seneca, SC
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Seneca has transitioned from a rural rail crossroads to a mill town and into a tourist and retirement destination. The city has embraced opportunities for innovation while working to maintain its natural and cultural quality of life.

About Clemson Area Transit
Clemson Area Transit (CAT) is a public service provided fare-free by Clemson University, the City of Clemson, the Town of Central, the Town of Pendleton, Anderson County, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and the Federal Transit Administration.

About The Center for Transportation & the Environment
The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that facilitates programs to develop technologies and implement solutions for energy and environmental sustainability. Since its founding in 1993, CTE has managed a portfolio of more than $290 million in federal, state, and local cost-shared research, development, and demonstration projects involving more than 200 organizations in the advanced transportation technology field.

About Proterra, Inc.
Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of clean technology and clean energy, providing zero- emission vehicles that enable bus fleet operators to significantly reduce operating cost while delivering clean, quiet power to the community. Proterra buses’ fast-charge enabled infinite range makes them well-suited to transit routes. With unmatched durability and energy efficiency based on rigorous industry testing at Altoona, the Proterra product is proudly made in America and based in Greenville, SC. For more information about Proterra, please visit

This article is a repost (8-30-14), credit: City of Seneca.

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Ride-sharing could cut cabs’ road time by 30 percent

September 2, 2014 in Car sharing, Climate Change, EV News, Politics, Pollution

A new analytic framework enables analysis of GPS data on 150 million cab rides in New York City.

Photo courtesy of SFMTA

Photo courtesy of SFMTA

By Larry Hardesty, MIT 

Cellphone apps that find users car rides in real time are exploding in popularity: The car-service company Uber was recently valued at $18 billion, and even as it faces legal wrangles, a number of companies that provide similar services with licensed taxi cabs have sprung up.

What if the taxi-service app on your cellphone had a button on it that let you indicate that you were willing to share a ride with another passenger? How drastically could cab-sharing reduce traffic, fares, and carbon dioxide emissions?

Authoritatively answering that question requires analyzing huge volumes of data, which hasn’t been computationally feasible with traditional methods. But in today’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, researchers at MIT, Cornell University, and the Italian National Research Council’s Institute for Informatics and Telematics present a new technique that enabled them to exhaustively analyze 150 million trip records collected from more than 13,000 New York City cabs over the course of a year.

Their conclusions: If passengers had been willing to tolerate no more than five minutes in delays per trip, almost 95 percent of the trips could have been shared. The optimal combination of trips would have reduced total travel time by 40 percent, with corresponding reductions in operational costs and carbon dioxide emissions.

“Of course, nobody should ever be forced to share a vehicle,” says Carlo Ratti, professor of the practice in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) and one of the paper’s coauthors. “However, our research shows what would happen if people have sharing as an option. This is more than a theoretical exercise, with services such as Uber Pool bringing these ideas into practice.”

On the fly

Finding the optimal combination of trips does require foreknowledge of trips’ starting times: For instance, a 30-minute trip the length of Manhattan might be combined with a 10-minute trip beginning 15 minutes later. But that kind of advance planning is unlikely if the passengers are using cellphone apps. So the researchers also analyzed the data on the assumption that only trips starting within a minute of each other could be combined. Even then, they still found a 32 percent reduction in total travel time.

“We think that with the potential of a 30 percent reduction in operational costs, there is plenty of room for redistributing these benefits to customers, because we have to offer them lower fares; to drivers, because we have to incentivize them to belong to this system; to companies; and of course, there is a benefit for the community,” says Paolo Santi, a visiting scientist in DUSP and first author on the paper.

In fact, Santi says, the results of his and his colleagues’ analysis were so striking that they asked Cornell mathematician Steven Strogatz to review their methodology. Strogatz is a co-author on the paper, as are Ratti and postdoc Stanislav Sobolevsky, both of MIT’s Senseable City Lab. Rounding out the author list are Michael Szell, who was a postdoc in the Senseable City lab when the work was done and is now at Northeastern University, and Giovanni Resta, a researcher at Santi’s home institution, the Institute for Informatics and Telematics.

In analyzing taxi data for ride-sharing opportunities, “Typically, the approach that was taken was a variation of the so-called ‘traveling-salesman problem,’” Santi explains. “This is the basic algorithmic framework, and then there are extensions for sharing.”

The traveling-salesman problem asks whether, given a set of cities and the travel times between them, there is a route that would allow a traveling salesman to reach all of them within some time limit. Unfortunately, the traveling-salesman problem is also an example — indeed, perhaps the most famous example — of an NP-complete problem, meaning that even for moderate-sized data sets, it can’t (as far as anyone knows) be solved in a reasonable amount of time.

Graphic results

So Santi and his colleagues took a different approach. First, they characterize every taxi trip according to four measurements: the time and GPS coordinates of both the pickup and the dropoff. Then, for each trip, their algorithm identifies the set of other trips that overlap with it — the ones that begin before it ends. Then it determines whether the trip they’re examining can be combined with any of those other trips without exceeding the delay threshold. On average, any given trip is “shareable” with about 100 other trips.

Next, the algorithm represents the shareability of all 150 million trips in the database as a graph. A graph is a mathematical abstraction consisting of nodes — usually depicted as circles — and edges — usually depicted as lines between nodes. In this case, the nodes represent trips and the edges represent their shareability.

The graphical representation itself was the key to the researchers’ analysis. With that in hand, well-known algorithms can efficiently find the optimal matchings to either maximize sharing or minimize travel time.

The researchers also conducted experiments to ensure that their matching algorithm would work in real time, if it ran on a server used to coordinate data from cellphones running a taxi-sharing app. They found that, even running on a single Linux box, it could find optimal matchings for about 100,000 trips in a tenth of a second, whereas the GPS data indicated that on average, about 300 new taxi trips were initiated in New York every minute.

Finally, an online application designed by Szell, HubCab, allows people to explore the taxi data themselves, using a map of New York as an interface.

David Mahfouda, the CEO of the car- and taxi-hailing company Bandwagon, whose business model is specifically built around ride sharing, says that his company hired analysts to examine the same data set that Santi and his colleagues did.

“We did analysis of rides from LaGuardia Airport and were able to build really detailed maps around where passengers were headed from that high-density departure point,” he says. But, he adds, “we definitely simplified the problem in order to focus on a particular real-world problem that we thought we could solve. Making the entire data set available on a queryable basis does seem like a significantly larger lift.”

Mahfouda says that his company is founded on the assumption that “a very significant number” of taxi rides are shareable. “But it’s extremely validating to have MIT corroborate that, and it’s been useful to our business to point to external validation,” he says.

He adds that, at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Bandwagon ran a demonstration version of its service for conference attendees. Over a four-day period, he says, ride sharing saved $18,000 in fares and operational costs and more than 1,000 pounds in carbon emissions. But, he says, it also saved passengers time.

“Something that doesn’t get mentioned a lot in this space is the amount of time that gets saved through ride consolidation,” he says. “A lot of times people think that you have to wait longer in order to find a shared ride. But particularly in congestion situations, you can get rides faster if you’re willing to share vehicles.”

This article is a repost, credit: MIT.

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Russia’s Gazprom Neft begins commercial production and oil deliveries from the Badra field in Iraq

September 1, 2014 in EV News, Oil, Politics

Badra oil field in Iraq Photo courtesy of Gazprom

Badra oil field in Iraq
Photo courtesy of Gazprom

Gazprom Neft, the operator of the Badra oil field in Iraq, announces that first oil from the field is now being delivered to Iraq’s main pipeline system for transfer to the export terminal in Basra (Persian Gulf). Current deliveries from Badra to the pipeline stand at over 15,000 barrels of oil per day and this level should be maintained until the end of 2014. According to the service contract with the Government of Iraq, the consortium of investor companies will begin receiving a share of the oil produced at the field after a period of 90 days following launch of commercial supply.

All of the oil produced in southern Iraq, including at Badra, is Basrah Light oil. The Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) is responsible for oil sales and each quarter will be delivering a share of oil to the investor companies to reimburse their initial project costs. Once these project costs have been covered, the investor companies will receive remuneration in kind for ongoing development at the rate of $5.5 of oil per barrel produced. Each investor company will be selling their share of oil independently.

First oil from the Badra field was produced in December 2013. Final commissioning at the field and testing of production and transportation infrastructure began in May 2014. Two wells are currently in production at the field and a further three wells are being drilled under a contract with the Chinese company ZPEC. According to the service contract production at the field will achieve 170,000 barrels of oil per day.

Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of the Management Board of Gazprom Neft, said:

Over the period of just a few years, a consortium of companies led by Gazprom Neft has fully prepared Badra, one of the most complex geological field structures in Iraq, for full-scale commercial development. This is the first major international project in upstream the company has implemented from scratch. The unique experience gained during this project will contribute to our development of future projects both in Russia and internationally.


The Badra oil field is located in Wasit Province in Eastern Iraq. According to preliminary estimates, geologic reserves at the Badra field amount to 3 billion barrels of oil.

The Badra oil field development project is scheduled to last 20 years with a possible 5-year extension. Under the terms of the contract, investors will be reimbursed for costs incurred and paid a fee equivalent of $5.5 per barrel of oil produced.

The contract with the Iraqi government for development of the oil field was signed in January 2010 upon completion of a bid process in December 2009. The winning bid was submitted by a consortium of companies consisting of Gazprom Neft, KOGAS (Korea), PETRONAS (Malaysia), and TPAO (Turkey). Gazprom Neft is the project operator.

Gazprom Neft’s share in the project is 30 percent, while KOGAS has 22.5 percent, PETRONAS has 15 percent, and TPAO has 7.5 percent. The share of the Iraqi government, represented in the project by the Iraqi Oil Exploration Company (OEC), is 25 percent.

New infrastructure has been built at the field to enable full-scale development including the first stage of the central gathering point (CGP) with a capacity of 60,000 barrels per day. The CGP’s capacity will eventually be increased threefold. In spring 2014 a 165 kilometer pipeline connecting the oilfield with Iraq’s major pipeline system was brought into operation. The company has launched construction of a gas processing complex with a capacity of 1.5 billion cubic metres per year, and work is continuing on laying a 100 kilometer pipeline connecting the Badra field with the Zubaida power plant (Wasit Province).

A major focus on social projects addresses the school education system, medicine and electricity in the Wasit Province and the city of Badra. Annual social investment in the region has increased to $5 million starting from 2014.

This article is a repost, credit: Gazprom.

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Chorley Tunnel reopens after upgrade as part of £1bn+ railway investment

September 1, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Politics, Trains

Photo courtesy of Network Rail

Photo courtesy of Network Rail

The railway between Chorley and Leyland reopened today (1 September) following a six-week closure to carry out improvements as part of Network Rail’s investment in the railway.

More than £1bn is being spent to deliver a faster, more reliable and efficient railway in the north west of England. To allow electric trains to operate between Manchester and Preston from December 2016 the track through the 113m long Chorley tunnel has been lowered so it can accommodate the overhead line equipment which will power the trains.

As well as upgrading the tunnel the 16 historic Chorley flying arches – Grade II listed structures on the approach to the tunnel which are the only remaining examples on the British rail network – were refurbished following close work and consultation with English Heritage.

Significant work also took place to rebuild three bridges at Harpers Lane (Chorley), Railway Road (Adlington) and Lockstock Lane (Bolton) as well as the River Chor aqueduct. Two bridges at Station Road (Blackrod) and Chorley Road (Adlington) will be modified in preparation for reconstruction in 2015.

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “More than £1bn of investment is being made to provide a better railway and boost the economy across the north of England.

“Electrification forms a significant part of this and the completed work though Chorley means the line is now ready to install the equipment needed to run electric trains.

“It was a significant engineering challenge to lower the track and as well as rebuilding bridges we have also returned the historic Chorley flying arches to their former glory. I’d like to thank everyone whose journeys were affected for their patience while we completed the work.”

Rob Warnes, planning and programmes director for Northern Rail, said: “The completion of the work here at Chorley is another step towards a better service for our customers and we’re delighted to see the project close successfully.

“Soon customers will benefit from larger, faster and quieter trains and the electrification happening throughout the north west over the forthcoming years means a big boost for the regional economy, opening up even more travel opportunities for rail passengers.”

Chris Nutton, FTPE programme director said, “We are delighted that the improvement works in and around Chorley have been delivered on time and without delay. These works have been necessary to enable a faster, more reliable and capacity increased rail service in the future.

“We have worked extremely hard with Network Rail and Northern Rail to keep customers moving and have provided accurate and update to date information throughout.

“Our normal timetabled service will now resume and I want to thank rail passengers between Preston, Chorley and Bolton for their patience, support and understanding through a sustained period of disruption.”

Much of the work to electrify the railway across the north west is being completed without causing significant disruption to rail services. For more information about the investment visit

This article is a repost, credit: Network Rail.

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NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars

August 28, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Politics

Artist concept of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) 70-metric-ton configuration launching to space. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars.  Image credit: NASA/MSFC Courtesy of NASA

Artist concept of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) 70-metric-ton configuration launching to space. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC
Courtesy of NASA

NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) — the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars — and approved the program’s progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.

“We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “And we’re firmly committed to building the launch vehicle and other supporting systems that will take us on that journey.”

For its first flight test, SLS will be configured for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. In its most powerful configuration, SLS will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons), which will enable missions even farther into our solar system, including such destinations as an asteroid and Mars.

This artist concept shows NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, rolling to a launchpad at Kennedy Space Center at night. SLS will be the most powerful rocket in history, and the flexible, evolvable design of this advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle will meet a variety of crew and cargo mission needs. Image credit: NASA/MSFC Courtesy of NASA

This artist concept shows NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, rolling to a launchpad at Kennedy Space Center at night. SLS will be the most powerful rocket in history, and the flexible, evolvable design of this advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle will meet a variety of crew and cargo mission needs.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC
Courtesy of NASA

This decision comes after a thorough review known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), which provides a development cost baseline for the 70-metric ton version of the SLS of $7.021 billion from February 2014 through the first launch and a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018.

Conservative cost and schedule commitments outlined in the KDP-C align the SLS program with program management best practices that account for potential technical risks and budgetary uncertainty beyond the program’s control.

“Our nation is embarked on an ambitious space exploration program, and we owe it to the American taxpayers to get it right,” said Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot, who oversaw the review process. “After rigorous review, we’re committing today to a funding level and readiness date that will keep us on track to sending humans to Mars in the 2030s – and we’re going to stand behind that commitment.”

“The Space Launch System Program has done exemplary work during the past three years to get us to this point,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We will keep the teams working toward a more ambitious readiness date, but will be ready no later than November 2018.”

The SLS, Orion, and Ground Systems Development and Operations programs each conduct a design review prior to each program’s respective KDP-C, and each program will establish cost and schedule commitments that account for its individual technical requirements.

“We are keeping each part of the program — the rocket, ground systems, and Orion — moving at its best possible speed toward the first integrated test launch,” said Bill Hill, director Exploration Systems Development at NASA. “We are on a solid path toward an integrated mission and making progress in all three programs every day.”

“Engineers have made significant technical progress on the rocket and have produced hardware for all elements of the SLS program,” said SLS program manager Todd May. “The team members deserve an enormous amount of credit for their dedication to building this national asset.”

The program delivered in April the first piece of flight hardware for Orion’s maiden flight, Exploration Flight Test-1 targeted for December. This stage adapter is of the same design that will be used on SLS’s first flight, Exploration Mission-1.

Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has all major tools installed and is producing hardware, including the first pieces of flight hardware for SLS. Sixteen RS-25 engines, enough for four flights, currently are in inventory at Stennis Space Center, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where an engine is already installed and ready for testing this fall. NASA contractor ATK has conducted successful test firings of the five-segment solid rocket boosters and is preparing for the first qualification motor test.

SLS will be the world’s most capable rocket. In addition to opening new frontiers for explorers traveling aboard the Orion capsule, the SLS may also offer benefits for science missions that require its use and can’t be flown on commercial rockets.

The next phase of development for SLS is the Critical Design Review, a programmatic gate that reaffirms the agency’s confidence in the program planning and technical risk posture.

This article is a repost (8-27-14), credit: NASA.