NASA begins rehearsal on SLS rocket for lunar missions

Rehearsal for NASA’s SLS rocket

© 2022 AFP

The US space agency NASA has begun important tests on its new giant lunar rocket SLS.

The US space agency NASA has begun important tests on its new giant lunar rocket SLS. The two-day tests at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida include a simulation of the start of the countdown, NASA announced Friday (local time). It’s a rehearsal for the unmanned Artemis 1 moon mission, which is due to begin in a few months.

NASA said the countdown has begun. Data from this simulation should help determine the launch date for Artemis 1. First, NASA announced a first launch window for the SLS rocket in May. In the meantime, a date later in the summer seems more likely. Artemis 1 aims to pave the way for the renewal of American manned moon missions in the coming years.

During the tests, which will continue until Sunday, the 98-meter rocket will be fueled with 2.6 million liters of fuel. This liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen are very cooled. All other necessary precautions before launching the missile are also properly exercised. However, the rocket engines should not be turned on. It has already been pre-tested.

The countdown must be stopped about ten seconds before the end. With the final discharge of the fuel, a safe thwart must then be practiced to take off in the event of technical problems or bad weather. A few days later, the rocket and Orion space capsule are scheduled to be returned to the space center’s assembly hall for further testing.

NASA wants to use giant SLS rockets and the Orion space capsule to bring astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972. For the Artemis 1 mission, the SLS rocket will first orbit the moon without a crew and then return to Earth. Astronauts are expected to orbit the Moon with Artemis 2 in 2024.

Artemis 3 should only land with astronauts on Earth’s satellite. NASA also plans to send the first woman to the moon and build a space station to orbit the moon. NASA wants to test the technologies for the first Mars missions planned for the 2030s on the Earth’s satellite. According to NASA, the first four launches of the SLS rocket into space will each cost $4.1 billion (€3.7 billion).

France Press agency

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