The SLS missile is the massive booster expected to propel Artemis missions into orbit and toward the moon at some point in the future. Before this launch, the missile must complete its test system, and NASA and Boeing have announced that they will attempt a second hot-fire test of the SLS missile on February 25. The test is critical and is the last step in an eight-part, year-long green operational test to ensure the missile is functioning as intended.
The first use of the SLS missile is expected to be the Artemis 1 mission, which will send an unmanned spacecraft around the moon. NASA and Boeing previously tried a hot fire test, but the engines stopped unexpectedly after shooting for about 67 seconds. To complete the test, The massive rocket should launch the full time required to put the spacecraft into orbit, about eight minutes.
John Honeycutt, SLS Program Manager, says green operation in the base stage is the most comprehensive test NASA has conducted to ensure the missile can be launched safely. During a hypothetical press conference held yesterday, Honeycutt said the test was a “generational opportunity” to find out as much as possible about the missile and its test configuration before it went into flight status.
NASA plans to try a hot fire test on the morning of February 25. It will be held at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. NASA employees will decide whether to release fuel for the rocket at 7 a.m. EST, with the hot fire test scheduled for 5 p.m. EST. The test table can be moved for about an hour in either direction.
During the press conference, NASA employees emphasized that there was a chance the engines would not burn for a full eight minutes. The team says they only need a little over four minutes of engine uptime to collect the data required to meet the remaining goals of the validation program.