NASA has given members of the media their first look at the Artemis Project’s Space Launch System (SLS), the rocket system which will be used to take astronauts to the Moon.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine showcased the new rocket system during a tour of the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
During a presentation, Bridenstine called the SLS “the most powerful rocket ever built”.
The tank will form part of the SLS core stage and measures almost 40 metres high with a diameter of 8.4 metres.
It can store just over 2 million litres of supercooled liquid hydrogen, the fuel that will power the four RS-25 engines that will propel the spacecraft on its eight-minute climb at a speed of 27,400 kilometres per hour.
During the test, NASA purposely pushed the rocket beyond its design limits. The test proved a success, with the tank tearing open at the exact point NASA’s models predicted.
Below is a video of the moment the tank failed.
Success! Engineers @NASA_Marshall tested the @NASA_SLS liquid hydrogen test article tank to failure – the tank withstood more than 260% of expected flight loads before buckling and rupturing! #Artemis MORE: https://t.co/xznmov26FP pic.twitter.com/qAIyapEJA5
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) 9 December 2019
In October, NASA unveiled two new space suits that will be used in missions to the Moon.
The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) is a large red-white-and-blue suit.
It includes various mobility improvements, which will make it easier for astronauts to work on the Moon’s surface.
The other new spacesuit, the Orion crew survival suit, will be used during transit between Earth and the Moon.
Although Project Artemis has experienced several delays, NASA is still planning to put the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.
The project envisions using the knowledge gained from living and working on the Moon during these trips, to prepare for future journeys to Mars.