NASA is, yet again, planning to take a group of astronauts to the Moon, and eventually set up a permanent base on the satellite. As part of their research efforts, the agency put humongous amounts of stress upon an identical copy of the SLS (Space-Launch-System) fuel tank.
The failure of the 70-foot (21-meter) tank was considered successful as the actual break threshold was within %2 of NASA calculations. To bust the liquid-oxygen tank, the team utilized hydraulic presses and put pressure from its sides on the tank until it bled.
The future holds great opportunities
SLS stages manager Julie Bassler said "This year is a landmark year for core stage testing for the Artemis missions. We have successfully completed our core stage major structural tests at Marshall Space Flight Center." to the press.
NASA conducted 199 tests and harnessed 421 gigabytes of data from them to further tweak the rocket's design. As structural testing is out of the way, NASA can focus on design improvements now.
Julie also added "All these tests are not only valuable for the first Artemis mission but also validates the new integrated design of the SLS core stage structure, propulsion, and avionics systems and ensures its readiness for future flights" hinting that these tests will provide data not only for Artemis project but all its successors as well.
The first integrated SLS test, including Orion and its systems, is expected to launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The expected launch date is somewhere around late 2021.