NASA has been working on sending humans to the Moon once again, in an ambitious mission that further extends to launch astronauts to Mars. The NASA deep space exploration rocket, constructed by Boeing, began its first test. All four engines of the large rocket were ignited briefly and marked a milestone in the Green Run testing phase for NASA.
NASA Tests SLS
Going into the details, the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) was ignited for just over a minute. The time was good enough for engineers to stay on track for the first launch, which could happen sometime later this year. The 212-foot tall core’s run for the engines marked significant progress for the mission.
“Today was a good day. We got lots of data that we’re going to be able to sort through to determine if a do-over is needed and whether a November 2021 debut launch date is still possible,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine at a press conference.
Going into the details, the rocket’s four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines ignited for roughly one minute and 15 seconds to simulate the internal conditions of a real liftoff. The ignition generated 1.6 million pounds of thrust and also consumed 100,000 gallons of propellants.
Green Run @NASA_SLS hot fire, T-0 time at 5:27 pm ET, lasting 67.2 sec. Engine ignition at 6 sec. prior to T-0, in sequence about 120 milliseconds apart. Core stage & engines in good shape. More to come this week on Artemis blog.
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) January 18, 2021
Lookout For Alternatives
Presently, NASA is running the mission to test the first unmanned flight with Boeing, which could determine the future launches to the Moon. To note, the massive rocket SLS has been delayed significantly, for three years to be precise. Plus, it’s over USD 3 billion in the budget. The recent test-firing shows as an example.
That said, alternatives like Elon Musk’s SpaceX has helped cut down budgets. The Falcon Heavy from SpaceX costs only USD 90 million. However, the rocket is less powerful than the SLS. On the other hand, NASA has another alternative like the Delta IV Heavy from the United Launch Alliance, which costs around USD 350 million.
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