NASA‘s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s first core stage has been delivered and installed this month at Stennis Space Center. The purpose of the assemblage is a series of tests that have to take place before its Artemis I flight.
The Green Run test will be the first completely integrated process of the stage’s systems before its debut flight. The testing will be performed on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, which is the largest rocket propulsion test side in the United States.
The Future Seems More Attainable Now
The Green Run testing will be conducted for a few months and will culminate with a full-duration hot fire of the stage’s RS-25 engines, which will take eight minutes in total, in order to generate two million pounds of thrust, just like it would happen during an actual take-off.
“This critical test series will demonstrate the rocket’s core stage propulsion system is ready for launch on missions to deep space,” Stennis Director Rick Gilbrech said. “The countdown to this nation’s next great era of space exploration is moving ahead.”
NASA is developing SLS to take humans to deep space, with destinations such as Mars and the Moon in mind. In the Artemis program, NASA will send the first woman to the Moon by 2024, accompanied by another male astronaut.
Artemis I will be an unmanned test flight of the rocket and its Orion probe. Artemis II will transport astronauts into the Moon’s orbit, and Artemis III will land humans on the surface of the Moon.
The core stage was created by NASA and Boeing in Alabama and developed at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
“Delivering the Space Launch System rocket core stage to Stennis for testing is an epic historical milestone,” said Julie Bassler, the SLS stages manager. “My team looks forward to bringing this flight hardware to life and conducting this vital test that will demonstrate the ability to provide 2 million pounds of thrust to send the Artemis I mission to space.”
First Stage Testing
The first stage was shipped then to Stennis on board of the specially-designed Pegasus vehicle. After it arrived, teams began installing the ground gear required for lifting the stage into a vertical position onto the stand.
NASA completed broad modifications to get ready the B-2 stand for the test set. Preparing the stand for SLS core stage testing is asking for enhancements of every significant system on the stand and the high-pressure system that generates hundreds of thousands of gallons of water during a test, as well.
As soon as the craft is installed on the stand, operators will test each of the stage’s systems. After the hot fire test, the teams intend to carry out refurbishment work on the stage and analyze, as well as configure it for shipment to the Kennedy Space Center. The craft will then be removed from the stand, placed in a horizontal position on the tarmac and boarded on the Pegasus for the trip to Florida.
At Kennedy Space Center, the stage will get all the other SLS elements and be prepared for take-off.