NASA successfully targeted a two-hour test window at 3:40 p.m. Thursday for the second hot fire test of the core stage for the agency’s Space Launch System rocket at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
The team powered up all the core stage systems, loaded more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercold, propellant into the tanks, and fire the rocket’s four RS-25 engines at the same time to simulate the stage’s operation during launch, generating 1.6 million pounds of thrust, according to a release.
The hot fire is the eighth and final test of the Green Run series to ensure the core stage of the SLS rocket is ready to launch Artemis missions to the Moon, beginning with Artemis I. The core stage includes the liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank, four RS-25 engines, as well as the computers, electronics, and avionics that serve as the “brains” of the rocket.
The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will test the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon to pave the way for sustainable exploration at the Moon and future missions to Mars.