A critical NASA rocket test ended with a shutdown on Saturday, a little over a minute into what was planned to be an eight-minute test. This trial run was a vital checkpoint for NASA’s much-delayed Space Launch System. The SLS is set to play a key role in the agency’s Artemis program which aims to return astronauts to the Moon.
During today’s Green Run test, the four rocket engines in the SLS core fired for a little over a minute while anchored in NASA’s rocket test stand. The team had planned to have the engines fire for approximately eight minutes, or about the same amount of time it will take to launch future missions to the Moon. The first 250 seconds of the test were especially key for the engineering team — during that time they planned to have the engines move through a series of maneuvers designed to test the responsiveness of the engines while they were lit.
During the test, about 1,400 sensors were gathering data on the rocket and its performance. Among other things, the sensors monitored the core for vibration, temperature, acoustics, and stress. Even though the test was cut short, those sensors did gather a lot of data that will help NASA determine the path forward.