US successfully tests Artemis moon rocket engines in 8 minute firing
St Louis : The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully hot-tested the four RS-25 rocket engines of the Space Launch Vehicle (SLS) for the Artemis manned missions to the Moon program in an eight-minute firing.
"They clearly got the full range they were after: The applause says a lot," NASA engineer Kathryn Hambleton said in a live podcast on Thursday as quoted by Sputnik. "[It] looks pretty good right now. They got through the test."
The test engines, which were built by Boeing, fired for almost eight times as long as in the first hot fire test on February 16 for the second hot fire test of the core stage for the agency's SLS rocket at the Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis in the US state of Mississippi, the space agency said.
In preparation for the firing, NASA engineers powered up all the core stage systems. They loaded 840,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and 200,000 gallons of liquid oxygen cryogenic, or super cold, propellant into the tanks and fired the four engines to simulate take-off, generating 1.6 million pounds of thrust, the agency said as reported by Sputnik.
Later, the Artemis I mission will test the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft as an integrated system ahead of manned flights to the Moon, NASA added.
"The SLS is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, and during today's test the core stage of the rocket generated more than 1.6 million pounds of thrust within seven seconds. The SLS is an incredible feat of engineering and the only rocket capable of powering America's next-generation missions that will place the first woman and the next man on the Moon," said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk in a statement as quoted by CNN.
"Today's successful hot fire test of the core stage for the SLS is an important milestone in NASA's goal to return humans to the lunar surface -- and beyond," the statement said further.
CNN also reported that this was the eighth and final in the Green Run series of tests designed to ensure that the rocket can launch Artemis missions that will land the first woman and the next man on the moon in 2024.
The first mission, the uncrewed Artemis I, is scheduled for November.
These tests can help answer questions about how the rocket might perform throughout different stages of launch. (ANI)