Watch NASA Test the SLS Rocket Engine that Could Take Us to Mars

Thursday, 13 August 2015 - 1:42PM
Space
Mars
Thursday, 13 August 2015 - 1:42PM
Watch NASA Test the SLS Rocket Engine that Could Take Us to Mars
NASA estimates that mankind will set foot on Mars sometime in the 2030's, but we need to make a suitable rocket first. NASA's cutting-edge Space Launch System (SLS) could very well get us there, and they're conducting a test of the engine today at 4:30 pm ET.

Watch the live stream of the test here:


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

The SLS is a new, more powerful system for launching deep space rockets that is derived from the Space Shuttle program. The design allows a payload of 70 metric tons to be carried into low-Earth orbit, with planned missions to a near-Earth asteroid, the Moon, and Mars within the next few years. The first launch date is scheduled for November 2018.

But before we can send a rocket to Mars, NASA needs to make sure that the engine is powerful enough, so they will run the RS-25 engine for about 9 minutes later this afternoon. The test will last for approximately as long as the engine would run during a launch, and will focus on the engine's performance at different thrust levels, ranging to a lower limit of 80%. This will mark the sixth of seven tests for the engine, which won't be fitted to a rocket, but rather will stay in place to allow for up-close observation. 

If this test runs smoothly, then there will be one more planned test for the rocket engine, after which NASA will begin to integrate the four engines together for a full rocket test. Tests will also begin for the second exploratory mission, which is expected to reach lunar orbit.
Science
NASA
Space
Mars

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