NASA has successfully tested the Space Launch System (SLS), part of the most powerful rocket available.
The rocket “engine center” engine lasted more than eight minutes. This simulates the time it takes for SLS to move from Earth to space.
This is the second test of its kind against the largest SLS division since the early January effort.
SLS is the first human to send to the moon since 1972.
The mission is part of NASA‘s Artemis project, which launched by the Trump administration in 2017.
The launcher consists of four powerful RS-25 engines and an orange core with two side drives.
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The test began at the Space Tennis Center near St. Louis Bay, Mississippi at 4:37 p.m. (20:37 GMT). The core attached to a huge structure called the B-2 testbed.
When the engine shook the ground, a large amount of exhaust gas expanded from the base. The clouds were so large that they discovered in space by the Goes-16 satellite.
The goal was to start the engine for 8 minutes, but the main team of NASA and Boeing contractors only had to keep the engine running for 250 seconds (4 minutes) to gather all the necessary engineering data.
“It was a great day and a great experiment,” said Steve Jurchik, NASA Deputy Managing Director.
The chairperson of the House Science and Technology Committee congratulated NASA on the success of the experiment. “Reaching this milestone is a story of stubbornness and sacrifice,” said Texas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson.
“The success of today’s experiment is one step closer to the return of American astronauts to the moon in preparation for human exploration on Mars,” he added.
The core, which was part of Thursday’s test, will use for the SLS Virgin flight, which is currently scheduled for late 2021.
In the 1960s, Stand tested the engine used in the giant Saturn V rocket that sent the Apollo astronaut to the moon.
“A series of planned moves,” said John Shannon, Boeing’s vice president and director of BoS plans for the SLS, before the first fire. ”
Moving this gimbal on the nozzle allows you to steer the rocket in flight.
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“Because this is the heaviest vehicle we have ever flown, so we can get a lot of engineering information about vibration, temperature, stress, and sound,” says Shannon.
Before the fire on Thursday, engineers filled the central stage with more than 700,000 gallons (2.6 million liters) of propulsion.
Propulsion consists of liquid hydrogen, rocket fuel and liquid oxygen, which helps burn fuel. They cause an explosive reaction in the engine and produce too hot steam from the exhaust gases.
When supplied to the engine, the propulsion is more than 200 degrees below zero (F), but the exhaust gas produced is 6000F (3,316C), which is high enough to boil the iron.
Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water directed to the flame bucket to cool the exhaust gases. In addition, tens of thousands of gallons used to create a “curtain” of water around the engine to reduce the noise produced during eight minutes of operation.
This done to protect the center stage from vibration while the center stage was attach to the bracket.
The RS-25, built by California-based Aerojet Rocketdyne, is the same space shuttle.
The engine tested on Thursday contributed to the success of 21 shuttle flights over 30 years of operation.
The two used on the last STS-135 space shuttle mission in 2011. One flew on a mission in 1998 and sent the oldest man into space. Another used in flight to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
The engine overhauled after the shuttle mission, but will disappear after the SLS Virgin flight later this year.
The mission, called Artemis-1 sends Orion’s next-generation Orion crew into orbit around the moon fully test the system.
Reconstruction of the main phase will take about a month and then be ready to launch with the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, said Tom Whitmeyer of NASA Exploration Systems Development.
Here, the SLS vehicle is complete by installing it in a structure called a moving launcher between two booster missiles.