NASA Successfully Fails a Liquid-Oxygen Rocket Tank

In their defense, it was for science, rightfully so.
Utku Kucukduner

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.


NASA did a similar test in December 2019 for their Artemis project too. NASA engineers were delighted to see their rocket gushing out its contents we should say.

NASA Successfully Fails a Liquid-Oxygen Rocket Tank
Source: NASA/YouTube

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.