NASA will ignite the most powerful rocket it has ever built on Saturday (January 16), though it will not get anywhere.
The test, scheduled sometime between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. EST, will be the first test at the core of the Space Launch System (SLS). This is the rocket that NASA hopes will one day lead a new generation of astronauts to the moon and handle other missions beyond the existing commercial space. As Live Science reported, it is slightly shorter than Saturn V rockets that carried Apollo astronauts to the moon, but they are more powerful. This will produce 15% more impulse during ascent and ascent compared to Saturn V.
Live broadcast will begin at 16:20 here:
When the four RS-25s at the bottom of the SLS turn on, it will close a test period for the rocket that NASA called its “green run,” beginning with stress tests on the physical structure of the rocket and ending with a live fire designed to make sure the core rocket phase is ready to launch. NASA has previously tested the solid rocket accelerators that will eventually be glued to the side of the rocket core for actual launch.
This core includes liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks, the four engines and the rocket and avionics computers. All will be activated when 700,000 liters (2.6 million liters) of supercooled fuel are transferred to the rocket and then activated while the rocket remains fixed at NASA’s Stanis space center near St. Louis Bay, Mississippi. When these engines are activated, they will generate 1.6 million pounds of thrust, he said. NASA.
If the test goes as planned, it will bring NASA on its way to mating the rocket nucleus to the Orion spacecraft and solid rocket amplifiers for actual launch. (Expect many more tests before humans get on board.)
Originally published in Live Science.