NASA successfully completed a static test Thursday with the engines of the new SLS launch vehicle, which will one day transport astronauts to the moon. This is a relief to the US space agency after an earlier test ended in January.
The four RS-25 engines of the first stage of the missile, each about the size of a car, were lit for just over eight minutes. The intention was to simulate the launch phase.
They produced a huge plume of smoke and deafening noise at the Stennis Test Center in Mississippi.
For the so-called “hot fire” test, which was conducted at around 9:40 pm, the tanks were filled with 2.6 million liters of fuel.
In a similar test at the end of January, the engines failed much earlier than expected, just over a minute after ignition.
This time, “nothing forced an early stop, which is a very good thing,” said Bill and Robel, in charge of tests at NASA, during the US Space Agency’s live broadcast on the Internet. The data must now be analyzed in detail.
Late for schedule
The SLS (Space Launch System) missile has been behind schedule for years. It is a powerful launch vehicle designed to carry the Orion spacecraft as part of the American Artemis Return to the Moon program.
This test was the last in a series of eight tests to verify that the first stage of the missile was ready for the Artemis missions. The stairs are approximately 65 meters high and are made up of engines, tanks, and computers that form the “brain” of the missile.
The missile will now be shipped to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.