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2020 to Present

SSC navigates the future beginning with the first Green Run test of the Space Launch System.

Green Run hot fire test on March 18, 2021

2020 – NASA sets the stage for Green Run testing of Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s first core stage as the flight article is lifted and installed on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center on January 21-22. The stage, which will be used to launch the Artemis I mission, arrived at Stennis on Jan. 12. The core stage was transported aboard NASA’s Pegasus barge from Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The Green Run series of tests represents the first top-to-bottom integrated testing of the stage’s systems prior to its maiden flight.

Space Launch System (SMS) core stage
The Space Launch System core stage being lifted onto the B-2 Test Stand on January 21, 2020.
Credits: NASA/Stennis

2020 – NASA suspends core stage testing activity on its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s first core at Stennis Space Center in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus on March 18. Limited teams return to the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis on May 11 to resume production and preparation activities to continue Green Run testing of the core stage, as conditions allow.

2020 – Engineers complete the fourth of eight planned Green Run tests on NASA’s Space Launch Systems (SLS) flight core stage on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center on August 5. The Green Run series represents a top-to-bottom test of the NASA core stage and its sophisticated systems before it is launched on the Artemis I flight to the Moon. Early Green Run tests include a modal test, power up of the stage avionics, a fail-safe systems test and functional checkout of the stage’s main propulsion system.

2020 – Engineers complete a gimbal test of NASA’s Space Launch Systems flight core stage on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center on September 13. For the gimbal test, operators move the stage’s four RS-25 engines on a tight circular axis, just as they must pivot during flight to ensure proper trajectory. The exercise is part of an eight-test Green Run checkout of the stage and its integrated systems prior before it is launched on the Artemis I flight around the Moon.

2020 – Engineers complete a simulated countdown exercise of NASA’s Space Launch Systems flight core stage on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center on October 5. During the simulated countdown, NASA engineers and technicians, along with prime contractors Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne, monitor the stage to validate the timeline and sequence of events leading up to an actual hot fire of the stage, which is similar to the countdown for the Artemis I launch. The exercise is part of an eight-test Green Run checkout of the stage and its integrated systems before it is launched on the Artemis I flight around the Moon.

2020 – Test teams at the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center complete a wet dress rehearsal for NASA’s Space Launch System core stage, the final step before an actual hot fire of the stage’s four RS-25 engines, on December 21. The exercise marks a major milestone as the stage propellants tanks are loaded for the first time with more than a combined 700,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The wet dress rehearsal marks the seventh of eight Green Run tests of the core stage and its integrated systems before it is launched on the Artemis I mission around the Moon.

2021 – NASA conducts a hot fire of its Space Launch System core stage on Jan. 16 on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center. All four RS-25 engines ignited successfully before the core stage experienced an automated shutdown after 67 seconds. Subsequent checks show that the flight hardware is in excellent condition and that the automatic shutdown was triggered by test parameters that were intentionally conservative to ensure the safety of the core stage during the test.

2021 – NASA conducts the first hot fire in a new RS-25 single-engine test series on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center January 28. The test of RS-25 developmental engine No. 0528 marks the beginning of a seven-test series designed to provide valuable data to Aerojet Rocketdyne, lead contractor for SLS engines, as the company begins production of new RS-25 engines. NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is powered, in part, by four RS-25 engines generating 1.6 million pounds of combined thrust at launch.

2021 – NASA conducts a full-duration hot fire of more than 8 minutes of its Space Launch System core stage on March 18 on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center. All four RS-25 engines fire successfully, producing a combined 1.6 million pounds of thrust, just as during an actual launch. The hot fire marks the culmination of a Green Run series of tests on the stage and its integrated systems. It also represents the most powerful test conducted at Stennis in more than 40 years.

2021 – The first core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket departs Stennis Space Center aboard the agency’s Pegasus barge, bound for Kennedy Space Center where it will be prepared for launch on the Artemis I mission to the Moon, on April 22. Departure of the stage closes a historic chapter of work at the nation’s largest propulsion test site, where the flight unit underwent a comprehensive series of Green Run tests of its integrated systems. The series of tests on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis culminated with a historic hot fire of the stage’s four RS-25 engines, just as during an actual launch.

2022 – On February 8th, Stennis conducted the 50th Hot-Fire of a RS-25 Engine since “return-to-test” after the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011. In addition, this marked the 100th test where the RS-25/Space Shuttle Main engine demonstrated operations at 111% PL.

Chronology of Events

Explore the list of significant events in John C. Stennis Space Center History.