On June 11, technicians at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, started structural testing on the liquid hydrogen tank, the largest piece of structural test hardware for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage. These tests along with other core stage testing will help ensure the success of the first and subsequent flights of the SLS and Orion’s spacecraft. Dozens of hydraulic cylinders in Marshall’s Test Stand 4693 will push and pull on the giant tank, subjecting it to the same stresses and forces it will endure during liftoff and flight, to test its strength and to ensure it is safe to fly. The test hardware is structurally identical to the flight version of the liquid hydrogen tank that will comprise two-thirds of the core stage and hold 537,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen cooled to minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit.
Image Credit: NASA/Kevin O’Brien