NASA Successfully Powered Up Core Stage of the Massive SLS Rocket in Green Run Test

B-2 Test Stand

NASA is testing the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s 212-foot tall core stage- the tallest rocket stage the agency has ever built- with a Green Run test on Earth before launch day. The core stage design will be used for all configurations of the SLS rocket, and the series of eight tests will verify the stage is ready for the first and future Artemis lunar missions. Credit: NASA

NASA successfully powered up the core stage at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi on December 5 and started the process to load propellant for the first time into the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage on December 7. To complete this wet dress rehearsal exercise, more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercooled, propellants are transferred from facility barge systems to the core stage. To test propellant loading procedures, engineers successfully loaded a small amount of liquid hydrogen into the core stage without any issues. Then, they paused propellant loading to review data and adjust procedures before loading additional propellant.

This is the seventh of eight Green Run tests for the Artemis I core stage built by Boeing and the four RS-25 engines manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne. For this test, the team focused on the core stage’s first exposure to cryogenic propellants. Six barges filled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen supplied the propellant to the B-2 test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi where the Green Run tests are taking place.

Artemis Testing: NASA SLS Green Run Checklist

The core stage Green Run test series of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is currently underway. Crews installed the 212-foot-tall core stage — the same rocket hardware that will be used for the first Artemis mission to the Moon — in the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for the core stage Green Run test series in January 2020. The comprehensive, eight-part test series, or run, will steadily bring the core stage flight hardware, or new, “green” hardware, to life for the first time. The test series cumulates with a “hot fire” as all four RS-25 engines fire simultaneously. The maximum thrust of the four RS-25 engines during launch and ascent is 2 million pounds. During Green Run testing in the B-2 Test Stand, the RS-25 engine thrust peaks at 1.6 million pounds, which is the maximum thrust the engines produce at sea level on the launch pad. The core stage design will be used for all configurations of the SLS rocket, and the series of eight tests will verify the stage is ready for the first and future Artemis lunar missions. Credit: NASA/Kevin O’Brien

Engineers monitored the core stage’s giant propellant tanks and complex propulsion systems for potential leaks or other issues that stages have historically experienced the first time cryogenic propellants are loaded.

Operations are continuing, and the team will refine the procedures and resume the wet dress rehearsal test in the coming days. The core stage performed well, and there are no issues with the stage, the B-2 test stand, or other facilities at Stennis.

The purpose of the test is to complete first-time operations using the new facilities and new rocket stage and adjust processes as necessary. The wet dress rehearsal is the seventh of eight Green Run tests being performed on the Artemis I core stage. Check back at this blog for more updates.

NASA B-2 Test Stand

Credit: NASA

1 Comment on "NASA Successfully Powered Up Core Stage of the Massive SLS Rocket in Green Run Test"

  1. Henry Murphy Jr. | December 9, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Reply

    Will this rocket be the one to go to Mars & beyond? Hope we have better luck with liquid proponents than the Russians did. ” Go where no 1 has ever gone before”. May God be their co-pilot. Henry Murphy Jr.

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