CRUCIAL TEST FOR NASA’S ‘MEGA ROCKET”
The core of a giant Nasa rocket that will return astronauts to the Moon has undergone a crucial test.
For the first time, engineers fully loaded a core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with super-cold liquid propellant, controlled it and then drained the tanks.
That propellant is fuel and an oxidiser – a chemical that makes the fuel burn.
Engineers wanted to check things worked as expected before the SLS makes its maiden flight in about a year’s time.
It was part of a testing programme known as the Green Run, that is being carried out at Nasa’s Stennis Space Center, near Bay St Louis in Mississippi.
This evaluation, known as the wet dress rehearsal (WDR), was the seventh of eight tests on the core stage. Nasa said the rocket responded well to the propellant being loaded. But the test experienced an unexpected shutdown a few minutes earlier than was planned.