The public got a close-up glimpse of NASA's Space Launch System which will be used as part of its Artemis Project to send astronauts to the moon and eventually Mars starting in 2024.
Over the weekend NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine posted a video on Twitter showing the successful test of SLS' liquid hydrogen tank. The tank could withstand more than 260% of expected flight loads before rupturing.
Success! Engineers @NASA_Marshall tested the @NASA_SLS liquid hydrogen test article tank to failure – the tank withstood more than 260% of expected flight loads before buckling and rupturing! #Artemis MORE: https://t.co/xznmov26FP pic.twitter.com/qAIyapEJA5— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) December 9, 2019
With the test complete, SLS moved beyond assembly, testing stage
According to reports, with the tank passing its test, the SLS has moved beyond the assembly and testing stage. The rocket, which is the tallest rocket to ever be erected, is 212 feet long which is equal to a 20-story building, While it is the most powerful rocket to be designed, reaching speeds that broke records, it has been mired in controversy. The development of the rocket has been delayed as costs have overrun estimates.
Nevertheless that didn't stop Bridenstine from calling the completed test at the Michoud Assembly Facility, which is located in New Orleans, a "very important day" for NASA. "We are making significant progress towards achieving that Artemis 3 mission and getting our first woman, and next man to the south pole of the Moon in 2024," he said.
SLS to get even more powerful as it evolves
SLS is the only rocket, at least for now, that can send Orion, NASA's moon rocket, astronaut and supplies to the Moon on one mission. The final five components of the SLS were secured in September. NASA has said that for the first mission of SLS and Orion, Artemis I, the rocket is capable of sending more than 26 metric tons (57,000 pounds) to the Moon. As the SLS evolves, it will be capable of sending more than 45 metric tons (99,000 pounds) to deep space.