NASA worked on a “mega-rocket” to send human crews to the Moon, and, potentially, Mars.
The giant launcher’s main section’s final critical tests are supposed to happen in the upcoming few weeks.
Scientists often compare the mega-rocket to the iconic Saturn V, and they are wondering if the SLS ( Space Launch System) can help achieve the excitement of the next level of lunar exploration.
In Mississippi’s southern area, close to Louisiana’s border, engineers put a significant piece of hardware through its designated paces.
A vast orange cylinder is suspended on an equally imposing steel chassis known as the B-2 test stand on the Stennis Space Center fields, a NASA test facility near the city of Bay St Louis.
The cylinder measures 65m (212ft) from top to bottom, and it is the core of a space vehicle more powerful than anything built since the 1960s.
The SLS consists of the liquid-fueled core stage, featuring four powerful RS-25 engines at its base and two solid-fuel boosters located on its sides.
The fully-built vehicle can deliver the enormous thrust required to blast astronauts off our planet and take them to the Moon.
The next man and first woman on the Moon will be sent on their mission in 2024. The day when the crew lands on the Moon will mark the first crewed landing on Earth’s satellite since 1972, with Apollo 17.
The mission will use some technology developed for the space shuttle. Still, in many aspects, the SLS is a modern-day relative of the Saturn V. This gargantuan rocket powered the Apollo lunar missions.
The year-long testing program for the core stage is reaching its end. It is was named the Green Run, and it was meant to rule out any problems with the rocket before its maiden flight, planned for November 2021.