Stennis Space Center is at the center of the space exploration world with this month’s delivery and installation of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket’s first core stage to Stennis Space Center for a milestone Green Run test series prior to its Artemis I flight. The Green Run testing will be the first top-to-bottom integrated testing of the stage’s systems. The testing will be conducted on the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis, which is the nation’s largest rocket propulsion test site. Green Run testing will take place over several months and culminates with an eight-minute, full-duration hot fire of the stage’s four RS-25 engines to generate 2 million pounds of thrust, as during an actual launch.
According to Stennis Director Rick Gilbrech this critical test series will demonstrate if the rocket’s core stage propulsion system is ready for launch on missions to deep space. NASA is building SLS as the world’s most-powerful rocket to return humans to deep space, to such destinations as the Moon and Mars. Through the Artemis program, NASA will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024. Artemis I will be a test flight without the crew of the rocket and its Orion spacecraft. Artemis II will carry astronauts into lunar orbit. Artemis III will send astronauts to the surface of the Moon. The SLS core stage, the largest rocket stage ever built by NASA, stands 212 feet tall and measures 27.6 feet in diameter.