NASA Fires Up The Engines On Their 'Space Launch System' Rocket

Sunday, 25 February 2018 - 6:12PM
Space
NASA
Sunday, 25 February 2018 - 6:12PM
NASA Fires Up The Engines On Their 'Space Launch System' Rocket
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NASA
For a long time now, NASA has been working on their Space Launch System (SLS), an extremely powerful rocket that could potentially transport humans to the Moon or even farther destinations like Mars. Once it's actually finished, of course.

But in an impressive progress update, NASA just fired up the SLS engines - four RS-25 engines whose basic designs date back to the space shuttle - to 113 percent thrust during a test ignition. To add some context to that "113 percent" number, NASA used the term "100 percent thrust" to refer to the full charge of the engines back on the space shuttle, so the modified SLS versions can now surpass that.

Check out a photo from the test ignition below:




While private companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance work on powerful rockets of their own, in the hopes of being the first to land astronauts on Mars, NASA is pushing their SLS to be a bigger contender. Their first unmanned test flight is currently scheduled for 2019, although some safety advisors have warned that it should be pushed back to 2020.



A press release from NASA explained some of their upcoming plans for the SLS, including a full launch that will send astronauts into deep space for the first time in decades:

Opening quote
"The Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) flight will test the new rocket and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft into space beyond the moon. Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2) will be the first flight to carry humans aboard the Orion spacecraft, returning astronauts to deep space for the first time in more than 40 years."
Closing quote


So keep an eye out for more news on an actual launch. Ever since SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch, lots of aerospace companies and agencies have been feeling some new pressure to upgrade their own rockets.
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