The core stage of NASA’s first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday evening aboard a specially-built barge, completing a voyage by sea from a test site in Mississippi to begin final preparations for the first flight of NASA’s Artemis Moon program. Ground crews plan to transport the core stage into the Vehicle Assembly Building beginning around 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT) Thursday to join its two solid rocket boosters.
Teams at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi removed the core of NASA’s first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket from a test stand earlier this week for loading onto a barge to carry it to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the rocket stage is due to arrive by the end of the month to start final preparations for a test flight around the Moon.
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.
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.