How to Watch NASA Fire All Four Engines on Mighty SLS Rocket
NASA is promising a spectacular show of rocket power on Saturday, January 15th, which you can watch live online.
The space agency will conduct the first four-engine hot-fire test of its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will take the first woman and next man to the moon by the end of the decade.
The hot fire marks the eighth and final part of NASA’s Green Run, a series of demanding tests to ensure the next-generation rocket is ready for space missions. For example, previous Green Run tests assessed the missile’s avionics, propulsion systems, and hydraulic systems.
The test on Saturday will take place at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and will focus on the core stage of the rocket, which includes the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks, four RS-25 engines, and computers, electronics and avionics, which serve as the missile’s “brain”.
NASA said the engineers would “turn on all of the core stage systems, load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic or supercold propellant into the tanks, and fire all four engines simultaneously to simulate operation of the stage during launch and generate 1.6 million Pound of thrust. “
We saw the incredible performance of just one of these four engines in a previous test. So expect something pretty spectacular on Saturday.
If the hot fire goes to plan, NASA will turn its attention to its highly anticipated Artemis I unmanned mission, where the SLS will launch the Orion space capsule on a moon flyby before returning to Earth, a mission which is currently scheduled for November 2021. After that, Artemis II will send four astronauts on a moon flyby, followed by Artemis III with a manned moon landing – the first since 1972.
How to watch
NASA is currently aiming for a two-hour window for the SLS missile test, which will begin on Saturday, January 16, at 2:00 p.m. local time. Live coverage of the event begins at 1:20 p.m. local time on NASA television, a link we brought to embedded at the top of this page. You can also use this link for the same feed on the NASA website. About two hours after the event, the space agency will also send a post-test briefing. So stick to it if you want to know all the details about the test process.