The core piece of NASA’s first huge Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket designed to carry astronauts back to the moon fired its main engines more than eight minutes Thursday in southern Mississippi, acing a crucial test before the it ships to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to prepare for liftoff.
NASA fired up four hydrogen-fueled main engines on the core stage of the first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket Thursday in on a test stand in Mississippi, a redo of a crucial hot fire test that was cut short in January by technical issues. The engines burned more than eight minutes in an apparently successful test.
The twin 177-foot-tall solid-fueled boosters for the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System have been stacked inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center to await arrival of the rocket’s cryogenic core stage, which is set for a second engine test on a firing stand in Mississippi later this month.
NASA officials said Tuesday the weekend test-firing of the Space Launch System moon rocket’s core stage was cut short by an out-of-limits parameter in a hydraulic system for gimbaling, or vectoring, one of its engines. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told Spaceflight Now engineers are “feeling pretty good” about the data gathered during the shortened test-firing, and managers may decide to ship the SLS core stage to the Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations without re-attempting the planned eight-minute hot fire.
A critical test-firing of NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket in Mississippi ended just 67 seconds after it began Saturday, well short of a planned eight-minute burn that was supposed to clear the way for the space agency to finally ship the rocket’s core stage to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch preparations.