Artemis I SLS Rocket Core Stage Engineering Testing Complete

The SLS is an advanced, heavy-lift rocket that will provide an entirely new capability for science and human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. Credit: NASA

Last week, engineers and technicians successfully completed an engineering test series of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as part of the integrated testing before launch.

After replacing and testing one of four RS-25 engine controllers, the team conducted several tests to ensure the massive core stage is ready to roll to the launch pad for the wet dress rehearsal ahead of the Artemis I launch. Engineers and technicians tested communication between the flight computers and other core stage systems and slightly moved the engines to practice the gimbaling they will experience during flight.


This time-lapse shows one of four RS-25 engines for the Artemis I mission gimbaling inside the Vehicle Assembly Building as part of integrated testing ahead of launch. This engine flew on four Space Shuttle flights and has 11 starts and 4,955 seconds of run time. Credit: NASA

All four engine controllers were powered up and performed as expected as part of the Artemis I Core Stage engineering tests. Following the power up, engineers successfully performed diagnostic tests on each controller.

Up next, the team will conduct a second countdown sequencing test to demonstrate the ground launch software and ground launch sequencer, which checks for health and status of the vehicle while at the pad. The simulated launch countdown tests the responses from SLS and the Orion spacecraft, ensuring the sequencer can run without any issues. After the countdown test and final closeouts are complete, SLS and Orion will head to the launch pad for the first time to complete the wet dress rehearsal test.

ARTEMIS MissionNASARocketSLS
Comments ( 6 )
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  • The 10th Man

    Not going to stop until you murder a whole new slew of brave Astronauts.

  • Ed Jackson

    I’m looking forward to the further advancement of this program. Seeing a vehicle large enough to lift lunar exploration, and farther, craft is truly amazing.
    The other comment about murdering astronauts is pure ignorance.
    I’d go in a minute!

  • DavidTims90

    NASA’s Artemis I SLS mission will set the stage for human landing systems that will orbit and land on the Moon, setting up bases for deep space exploration, including Mars. The future benefits to humankind shall be immeasurable.
    10th Man’s comment about “murdering a whole new slew of brave astronauts” is flat out negative hyperbole and reveals less than superficial understanding of the technological marvels of this nation’s space program and its private partners.

  • R.W. Carmichael

    The problem with the SLS is far more than that it is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget and has been plagued with numerous manufacturing and engineering problems. Its basic failure is that of all expendable rocketry. They have no way of knowing which components are near failure. And given that the major design criteria is to build it in as many Congressional districts as possible, it has no chance of true scientific quality control.

  • William D Harrison II

    old tech. wasteful. expensive. purpose is and always was to line the pockets of corps and politicians.