The American Astronautical Society welcomes NASA’s announcement of its planned path forward to develop the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS).  AAS Executive Director, Jim Kirkpatrick said: “This important announcement by NASA – coupled with the enthusiastic words of support for this new exploration launch system by a bipartisan group of Senators and Members of Congress – will assure our nation’s continued progress in space.  With the Space Shuttle program now complete, it is time to move forward with the steps needed to enable exploration beyond low Earth orbit; developing a heavy lift capability is an essential step.”