NASA’s Most Powerful Rocket


Since Apollo 17, NASA is sending the first crewed mission to the lunar surface utilizing the Artemis Program(a series of lunar missions paving way for future explorations beyond the moon). NASA is preparing new Space Launch System(SLS) rocket which can carry cargo and astronauts to the Moon within a single mission. NASA in collaboration with partners is building a new crew capsule called Orion. According to NASA, the design of SLS is flexible and evolvable withstanding long scientific robotics mission into deeper space. Multiple configurations of SLS can achieve maximum thrust besides various payload capacities allowing it to adjust itself for crewed and cargo missions to Moon and other planets. The Core Stage of the SLS with 64m height comprises around 2.7 million litres of propellant. The top of the Core Stage(Forward skirt) holds the on-board flight computers and avionics. The Liquid Oxygen and Hydrogen tanks contains cooled propellant with around 2 million litres of liquid Hydrogen and 742000 litres of liquid oxygen. The intertank joins the 2 tanks together acting as an attachment point for the forward booster carrying onboard electronics for the Core Stage. The Engine Section channels the propellant from the tanks to the 4 RS-25 Engines, acting as the avionics for storing the engines. This system generates 8.9 meganewtons of thrust accelerating SLS to a speed of Mach 23.

NASA conducted the eighth Green Run series test on the RS-25 engines of SLS which requires the engines to fire for about 8 minutes, reducing the amount of time taken to launch SLS into space. This test is known as the “Hot Fire Test”. After completing several operations, the Green Run Team has decided than approximately 4 minutes test would provide required data to confirm the core stage and the engines are fully prepared.

Before the next test, the team is refurbishing the engines while also tweaking the thermal protective system. If all goes correctly, it should take around 1 month to develop the core stage for transport to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

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