NASA Performs 60-Second Hot Fire Test of SLS Ahead of Artemis Moon Missions

SLS test fire to take place on Jan 16

NASA performed a hot fire test of its Space Launch System rocket core stage at Stennis Space Center on Saturday, but the test automatically cut off after 60 seconds.

NASA is investigating the cause of the problem but the agency doesn’t think launching this year is out of the question.

The agency conducted the test on NASA Television and was followed by a briefing from the Stennis Space Center, located near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the test did not live up to expectations.

The hot fire is the last test of the Green Run series to make sure the core stage of the SLS rocket is ready to launch Artemis missions to the Moon, beginning with Artemis I.

Read the Artemis Plan Overview here.

The core stage includes the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks, four RS-25 engines, and the hardware and avionics that serve as the “brains” of the rocket.

During the test, engineers powered up all the core stage systems, load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic propellant into the tanks, and fired all four engines at the same time to simulate the stage’s operation for launch, expected to generate 1.6 million pounds of thrust. 

The issues were apparently with the fourth engine.

Under the Artemis program, NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024.