Stennis plans big test of Michoud-built rocket

Green light hot fire test set for Friday, October 2nd
Green light hot fire test set for Friday, October 2nd
Stennis plans big test of Michoud-built rocket Photo credit Getty Images: Bill Ingalls/NASA

NASA will test fire one of the Space Launch System (SLS) rockets in a Green Run hot fire test – the test of the rocket’s core stage and all of its integrated systems before its flight on the Artemis I lunar mission, scheduled for 2021.

NASA is targeting early November for the test in the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

The hot fire is the final in a series of eight tests that ensure the stage’s systems are functioning and ready for operation.

The test replicates the launch by loading the propellants and allowing them to flow throughout the system as the four RS-25 engines fire simultaneously to demonstrate that the engines, tanks, fuel lines, valves, pressurization system, and software can all perform together just as they will on launch day.

Following the test, NASA will ship the core stage to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it will be assembled with the other parts of the Artemis I rocket and the Orion spacecraft.

The core stage was built at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans with contributions from suppliers across the country.

Boeing is the lead contractor for the core stage, with the RS-25 engines built by Aerojet Rocketdyne, and the test is being conducted by engineers from Stennis, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and SLS contractors.