This week, NASA announced that it is targeting Thursday, March 18th, to conduct the second hot-fire test of the base stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) missile. The test will take place at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. NASA set the new date after tests showed that the recently repaired liquid oxygen element valve was working properly.
While making repairs to the faulty valve, the The SLS Team She continued preparing the base stage and its four engines for the RS-25 and test stand B-2 for the second hot fire test. NASA said its team will be working on the primary stage again and conducting a final check of all systems this week.
On March 16th, the base stage will be put into operation, and the clock will start for the second hot fire test. The test is the last one before the Artemis I base stage is shipped to the Kennedy Space Center for assembly and integration with the rest of the major components of the rocket and the Orion spacecraft. The Exploration Ground Systems and Kennedy team already have the steel missile booster parts in the vehicle assembly building stacked and ready for installation.
They are currently finishing the booster assembly, and when the primary stage arrives, it will be lifted and placed between the boosters and fixed in the primary stage drive and intertank sections. Teams are working on other parts of the rocket and spacecraft, preparing for final assembly and integration.
The SLS is the most powerful rocket in the world and was designed to send astronauts on board the Orion spacecraft and their supplies to the moon and eventually to Mars. It contains a massive fuel tank containing more than 700,000 gallons of supercool propellant to propel the missile into orbit during its eight-minute flight.