National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in May announced that it is resuming work on a series of tests to bring the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage to life for the first time. The space agency has given the contract to lead the rocket's construction to Boeing.
Now, reports have emerged informing that Boeing is testing the core stage of the first SLS at the NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
"It's very rewarding. It's the first time that this test has been run; this is a first-of-its-kind type of rocket, the world's largest, most powerful rocket ever built," Boeing's green-run director Mark Nappi told Space.com.
Engineers in January began activating the stage's components one by one over several months through a series of initial tests and functional checks, both of which are collectively called Green Run.
"Green Run is the step-by-step testing and analysis of the new SLS rocket core stage that will send astronauts to the Moon," said Richard Sheppard, the SLS Stages Green Run Test Lead from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Space Launch System is an advanced launch vehicle that NASA expects will carry humans beyond Earth's orbit, stretching to the moon, Mars and perhaps, one day, deep space. The space agency is planning to land a human mission using SLS on the moon in 2024.
The testing process has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only one test was carried out before the COVID-19 halted the work at Stennis.