NASA, at Stennis Space Center, concluded green run tests of four RS-25 engines that would ignite for the Artemis program's first lunar mission.
The space agency said Sunday it test-fired the engines of the Space Launch System on Saturday for the first mission under Artemis, a NASA-led effort to revive crewed space exploration.
SLS would lift an uncrewed Orion spacecraft that would demonstrate flight in the lunar orbit for the Artemis I mission, now targeted for late 2021.
The four RS-25 engines demonstrated ignition, but remained running for only over a minute, as opposed to the targeted eight-minute firing time. NASA is now looking into possible causes of the premature shutdown.
“Although the engines did not fire for the full duration, the team successfully worked through the countdown, ignited the engines, and gained valuable data to inform our path forward," said Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient.
The agency commenced the green run test series in January last year and experienced delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and some natural disasters. The recent hot-fire test built on the previous green run trials and concluded the series.
NASA, moving forward, will further assess the early shutdown's cause, and will base future decisions on examinations of SLS' core stage and RS-25 engines.