The press service of NASA announced the successful conduct of a full-scale test of the upper stage of the SLS (Space Launch System) launch vehicle for flights to the Moon and Mars. The exhaust sustains such high levels of heat that it turns sand into glass.
Known as the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB), it fired for two minutes while secured to the ground as engineers from NASA and Northrop Grumman watched on in Utah. The SLS booster was on its side and was seen on the NASA livestream (longer version on YouTube here) blasting off a fiery blast.
The test, which lasted a little over two minutes, produced more than 3 million pounds of thrust.More news: Matt Hancock won't condemn homophobia because Tony Abbott is a trade expert
"NASA is simultaneously making progress on assembling and manufacturing the solid rocket boosters for the first three Artemis missions and looking ahead toward missions beyond the initial Moon landing", John Honeycutt, SLS program manager at Marshall, said after the test. "Our engineers and technicians will continue to analyze the data and use it to improve future rocket boosters on future Artemis missions".
An artist rendering shows NASA's Space Launch Systems (SLS) evolution from a Block 1 configuration to various configurations capability of supporting different types of crew and cargo missions.
Last year, NASA revealed details of its vision for the Artemis Moon Lander that will return American astronauts to the lunar surface.More news: The Biden Campaign Just Launched Animal Crossing Yard Signs
"NASA's goal is to take what we learn living and working on the Moon and use it to send humans on the first missions to Mars". Dubbed Flight Support Booster-1, the test article built on previous variants with "the introduction of propellant ingredients from new suppliers".
A piloted mission carrying four astronauts around the moon is planned for 2023, with a moon landing mission by the end of 2024. "Full-scale booster tests are rare, so NASA tries to test multiple objectives at one time so we are highly confident that any changes we make to the boosters will still enable them to perform as expected on launch day". The agency has set out to develop a whole suite of technologies to support both a sustainable lunar-oriented mission and a subsequent Mars mission, engaging the commercial space community along the way.More news: Kai Havertz completes his Chelsea medical