Engineers have completed the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s structural testing campaign, on June 24, 2020. This is for the Artemis lunar missions. They tested the liquid oxygen structural test article to seek its point of failure.
The liquid oxygen tank failed in the weld location as engineers predicted and at the approximate load levels expected. This proved flight readiness and provided critical data for the tank’s designers. The test concluded at approx. 10 p.m. EDT. This final test met all the program milestones.
A Successful Failure
The successful completion of structural qualification testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama wraps up the largest test campaign at the center since tests conducted for the Space Shuttle Program, more than 30 years ago.
Now, with critical data, designers can optimize the Space Launch System hardware. SLS will have the power to send astronauts to the Moon and eventually Mars. This testing was crucial to the success of not only the first flight test, but all future ones.
The SLS rocket, Orion spacecraft, Gateway and human landing system are part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. The next step in human space exploration is the Artemis program.