NASA successfully completed a comprehensive booster test of its Space Launch System (SLS) at a location in the Utah desert on Wednesday, September 2nd. SLS will one day transport people to the moon, Mars, and possibly even further into space.
The static test, which fired the most powerful rocket booster ever built for flight, took a full two minutes – exactly as long as the rocket's two boosters would work during take-off and flight during a mission.
However, in a tweet, NASA said the test isn't just about performance, it's also about technical innovations that will help us explore the moon and beyond. Our engineers and technicians will continue to analyze and use the data to improve future rocket boosters for future Artemis missions. "
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine congratulated test takers, adding in a statement: “The landing of the first woman and next man on the moon is just the beginning of NASA's Artemis program. The SLS Booster Flight Support Booster Fire is a crucial component in sustaining missions to the moon. NASA's goal is to use what we learn to live and work on the moon to send people on their first missions to Mars. "
NASA plans to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024. The SLS rocket is part of a series of contraptions, including the Orion spacecraft, the Lunar Gateway, and the human landing system, that will aid NASA's future space exploration projects.
SLS stands at 98.1 meters (322 feet), which is 5.2 meters (17 feet) higher than the Statue of Liberty. During launch, the rocket will generate 8.8 million pounds of thrust, "which is the equivalent of more than 160,000 Corvette engines," as NASA puts it. That's 13% more than the Space Shuttle and 15% more than the mighty Saturn V, the launch vehicle that was used for previous crewed missions to the moon.
Underlining its importance, NASA notes that SLS is currently the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the moon in a single mission.
Despite the ambitious project, which suffers from a series of delays and a fluctuating budget, astronaut Christina Koch, who recently broke the record for the longest uninterrupted stay in space by a woman at 328 days, told Digital Trends that NASA " absolutely "their" bold goal "of bringing people back to the moon by 2024.
If NASA can stick to its current plan, the first outing for SLS in November 2021 will be an unmanned test flight called Artemis 1.