The core stage Green Run test series of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is currently underway. Crews installed the 212-foot-tall core stage — the same rocket hardware that will be used for the first Artemis mission to the Moon — in the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for the core stage Green Run test series in January 2020. The comprehensive, eight-part test series, or run, will steadily bring the core stage flight hardware, or new, “green” hardware, to life for the first time. The test series cumulates with a “hot fire” as all four RS-25 engines fire simultaneously. The maximum thrust of the four RS-25 engines during launch and ascent is 2 million pounds. During Green Run testing in the B-2 Test Stand, the RS-25 engine thrust peaks at 1.6 million pounds, which is the maximum thrust the engines produce at sea level on the launch pad. The core stage design will be used for all configurations of the SLS rocket, and the series of eight tests will verify the stage is ready for the first and future Artemis lunar missions. This infographic will be updated with check marks in real time to indicate the progress NASA had made in testing the largest rocket stage the agency has manufactured since the Apollo Program that first sent astronauts to the Moon.
NASA is working to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. SLS and Orion, along with the Human Landing System and the Gateway in orbit around Moon, are NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon in a single mission.
Image Credit: NASA/Kevin O’Brien