Gearing up for NASA’s return to the moon and the deep space exploration beyond, Boeing has transported the core stage of the new Space Launch System to Stennis Space Center for its initial tests.
Among the tests are checks with hand-held calibrated impulse hammers to make sure the core stage can withstand the pressures encountered during launch and space flight.
This series of tests, called the Green Run, with culminate with an 8.5-minute hot fire test of all engines simultaneously.
The 212-foot core stage was transported by barge to the Mississippi site and lifted by crane 11 stories to the top of the test structure — the same used to test Apollo rockets in the 1960s and 1970s and later the space shuttle’s main propulsion system.
You can watch the transport and lift process on a NASA video here.
The Space Launch System is being developed in Huntsville. Boeing is responsible for design, development, testing and manufacture of the core and upper stages of the SLS and for avionics for NASA’s deep space rocket.