NASA conducted a test to fire up the engines of its new giant SLS rocket on Saturday, but they stopped earlier than expected, the US space agency told AFP.
This “acid test”, which took place at the Stennis test center in Mississippi (south), was supposed to take just over eight minutes, the time it took to start the engines for flight, but they were shut down after May . more than a minute.
“The teams are analyzing the data to determine what caused this premature shutdown and will decide what to do,” NASA said in a statement.
The SLS (Space Launch System) rocket is a powerful launcher designed to transport the Orion spacecraft as part of Artemis’s return program to the moon.
Although interrupted, the RS-25 engine test provided valuable information for future missions, NASA said.
“Saturday’s test was an important step in ensuring that the SLS rocket’s main engines are ready for the Artemis 1 mission and to transport a crew during future missions,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“Although the engines did not run all the time, the crew worked successfully through the countdown and obtained valuable data,” he added.
The causes of premature arrest are unknown.
The Artemis 1 mission, which will test the new SLS rocket with the Orion capsule without a man on board, is scheduled for the end of the year.
Artemis 2 will carry astronauts around the Moon in 2023, without landing on the Moon.
Artemis 3 will take two astronauts to Lunar Earth, including the first woman, in theory in 2024.
In the Artemis 1 configuration, the SLS rocket will be larger than the Statue of Liberty and stronger than the famous Saturn V that carried American astronauts to the Moon between 1969 and 1972.
NASA is considering building an “Artemis camp” on the moon, scheduled for the end of the decade, provided future US President Joe Biden and Congress agree to the required funding of tens of billions of dollars.
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