Michoud-Built Rocket Undergoing Tests at Stennis
NEW ORLEANS – Aerospace company Boeing announced that the massive new “Space Launch System” rocket it is building for NASA’s next round of space exploration has finished one round of tests and is beginning another at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss. The SLS is intended to be the “backbone of NASA’s deep space exploration missions and will be used to send the first woman and next man to the Moon for its Artemis program.” The SLS was built at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and transported by barge to Stennis in January.
According to a release, the SLS core stage is on the same test stand used for Apollo rockets during the 1960s and 70s and the space shuttle’s main propulsion system prior to its first flight. For the first round of tests, Boeing and NASA engineers used electric motors called “shakers” and hand-held calibrated impulse hammers to confirm that the core stage can structurally withstand the pressures it will encounter on its way to space. Next is the “hot fire” test: technicians will fire up the rocket’s engines simultaneously for more than eight minutes to simulate the first launch.