The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully tested its largest rocket element ever built – the first phase of the Artemis rocket. As part of this mission, the United States plans to return its astronauts to the Moon by 2024.
The aerospace agency simulated the launch by firing the main stage engines of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket while it was docked on a tower at John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
Four engines ran for eight minutes of testing. NASA employees greeted the completion of the work with applause. Many aerospace firms have already congratulated NASA on the successful completion of the tests.
The tests came about two months after NASA conducted a critical fire test of the main stage engines of its Space Launch System super-heavy rocket. The previous January test ended in about a minute. At the same time, engineers needed at least 4 minutes to collect enough data.
The January test was interrupted because of the overstated security parameters. Back then, Boeing and NASA announced they were ready to retest on February 26. However, the American agency later reported that one of the eight valves on the main stage of the SLS was not working properly, so the fire test was postponed to March.
The space launch system is expected to be sent to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with Lockheed Martin's Orion spacecraft.