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NASA Performs Successful Hot Fire Test of Moon Rockets

(Photo: NASA)

NASA intends to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon as part of its Artemis program , but before that, the rockets to get all the equipment (and humans) there need to be perfected. Yesterday, NASA performed a successful full-duration hot fire test of the Artemis I core stage.

Artemis has the world’s largest rocket stage, with four RS-25 engines providing 1.6 million pounds of thrust. The test yesterday was carried out at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi on the B-2 Test Stand. It lasted over eight minutes (499.6 seconds), during which the engines consumed over 700,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellant. The good news is, everything went to plan.

The duration of the test allowed engineers to collect vital data on a whole range of engine functionality, including “throttling the engines up and down and moving the engines dynamically in a variety of patterns.” Analysis of this data in the coming days will determine if Artemis I core stage is ready to be transported to the Kennedy Space Center and integrated with the solid rocket boosters.

The so-called Green Run checklist for the core stage has now been completed. It consisted of eight tests, all of which were passed and get humans one step closer to setting foot on the Moon again. Before humans make it there, though, NASA intends to send a suite of science instruments and technology demonstrations to the lunar surface this year via commercial lunar payload services. It’s hoped astronauts will land on the Moon by 2024.

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