NASA is ready to test its most powerful rocket in south Mississippi. According to NASA, the New Orleans built Space Launch System (SLS) rocket was installed on January 22, at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss. The world’s most powerful rocket, SLS is being constructed to carry astronauts back to the Moon under the agency’s Artemis program and to new destinations, including Mars.
According to the agency, the SLS is a critical part of NASA’s Artemis program. The rocket has been the under-construction for the last few years.
“Delivering the Space Launch System rocket core stage to Stennis for testing is an epic historical milestone,” said Julie Bassler, the SLS stages manager.
“My team looks forward to bringing this flight hardware to life and conducting this vital test that will demonstrate the ability to provide 2 million pounds of thrust to send the Artemis I mission to space,” he added.
Stennis Space Center has been given the responsibility to test all RS-25 engines for the new rocket. The completed core stage with four RS-25 engines is the largest rocket stage NASA has built since the Saturn V stages for the Apollo Program.
The subsequent SLS launch is the first mission in the program that will be an uncrewed flight test designated as Artemis I. The Artemis program aims to land the first woman and the next man on the south pole of the by 2024. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Apollo Program missions were executed carrying humans for the first time to the Moon.
Through Artemis, astronauts will be able to develop and test technologies and capabilities that are required to travel into deeper space. The latest mission will also open the door to learning more about how to live and work on other planets. Already, more than 1000 companies and thousands of workers have been involved in the construction of SLS.
Dr Rick Gilbrech, the director of NASA’s Stennis Space Center, stated “This is one of the most historic and exciting times for NASA and Stennis in my 28-year career. It has been over 49 years since an actual flight stage has been delivered, installed and tested at Stennis before heading to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center. I am blessed to work at Stennis with such a capable and talented workforce who are all excited and ready to bring the world’s newest and most powerful rocket roaring to life in south Mississippi.”