This week, NASA announced the successful completion of an important test of the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage that will experience the most significant stresses and loads during the launch of the world's most powerful rocket. The engine section test article was subjected to the extreme forces that it will experience during launch with the four RS-25 engines and the two five-segment solid rocket boosters. This important milestone continues to pave the way for the core stage engine and launch of EM-1 next year.
According to NASA:
"After numerous tests using millions of pounds of force, engineers have successfully completed structural qualification testing on the engine section for NASA's new deep-space rocket, the Space Launch System.
"A true powerhouse, with four RS-25 engines and side attachment points for two solid rocket boosters, the engine section is located at the bottom of the rocket's massive core stage. The 212-foot-tall core stage will be the backbone of all SLS configurations, making the tests critically important for upcoming missions sending crews to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
"During launch, the engines and boosters will produce more than 8 million pounds of thrust, requiring the engine section to be incredibly strong.
"'These tests mark significant progress to the pad for the first flight of SLS,' said Mark White, lead test engineer for the engine section at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. 'The tests performed by NASA with core stage prime contractor Boeing prove the hardware is strong enough to withstand the stresses and loads of launch and ascent.'
"The engine section structural test article was built at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, and shipped to Marshall for testing. At Marshall, the hardware was installed into a unique 50-foot test stand where electronically controlled hydraulic cylinders pushed, pulled and bent the test article with millions of pounds of force."