NASA has achieved a new milestone in developing new technology for its ambitious Artemis program. The space agency said that the Space Launch System (SLS) has passed a key test. SLS is a super heavy-lift launch vehicle. It is touted to be the most powerful rocket ever built by any agency. NASA has designed the vehicle, especially to power the upcoming Moon missions. The rocket will take astronauts to the lunar surface under the Artemis program. NASA said that the hot fire test of SLS’s core stage was successful. It said that the hot fire test was crucial in taking the program way forward. Once completed, the SLS will be used for the Artemis I mission this year itself.
Artemis I will be on an uncrewed flight to Moon. It will return to Earth after a Moon flyby. The success will pave the way for Artemis II and Artemis III missions. NASA said that the data obtained during the hot fire test will be used to validate the vehicle’s design of the core stage. The agency said that SLS the rocket in just seven seconds generated 1.6 million pounds of thrust. NASA termed the SLS as an excellent work of engineering. It said that SLS is capable of powering the Artemis program. NASA said that it previously conducted a hot-fire test in January. However, the test did not deliver results as expected.
Under the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and the next man on Moon by 2024. The program will see three launches with the first one scheduled for later this year. The Artemis II mission will be launched in 2023. It will be a crewed mission. It will perform a flyby of the Moon and return to Earth. The third and final mission will land humans on the Moon in 2024. Astronauts will fly to Moon on an Orion spacecraft. NASA claimed that SLS is the only vehicle that is capable of launching the spacecraft.