NASA successfully completes moon rocket engine test
NASA said on Thursday that the largest rocket element it has ever built, the core stage of its Space Launch System (SLS), successfully passed its engine test, paving the way for more manned launches to the moon in the future.
The SLS is the rocket with which NASA intends to send the next astronauts to the moon.
“The SLS is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, and during today’s test the core stage of the rocket generated more than 1.6 million pounds of thrust within seven seconds,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a press release. “The SLS is an incredible feat of engineering and the only rocket capable of powering America’s next-generation missions that will place the first woman and the next man on the Moon.
“Today’s successful hot fire test of the core stage for the SLS is an important milestone in NASA’s goal to return humans to the lunar surface – and beyond,” Jurczyk added.
The test, known as a hot fire, was first conducted on Jan. 16. The first test of the four RS-25 engines ended earlier than expected, according to NASA. During the second test, the engine fired for more than eight minutes, which it will also do in the future when it launches to the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
“This longer hot fire test provided the wealth of data we needed to ensure the SLS core stage can power every SLS rocket successfully,” SLS program manager John Honeycutt said.
The core stage of the rocket will now be sent to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it will be assembled with solid rocket boosters.