Last week, NASA successfully completed a test version of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket fuel tank and ripped its side,media CNET reported. The test delighted NASA engineers.
NASA Administrator Jim Bradenstin posted the test video to Twitter on Monday. “The tank was subjected to more than 260% of the expected flight load before bending and breaking! He wrote.
The test was conducted at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. SLS aims to power NASA’s Artemis project, which includes a mission to send human astronauts to the moon in 2024. The successful test was a welcome milestone for the space agency, as the development of the rocket system was delayed to some extent.
The test bench is equipped with hydraulic pistons that apply millions of pounds of force to the tank. This test simulates the pressure that the tank will be subjected to in use, and then gradually increases the pressure to push the tank until it breaks.
The data will help SLS develop, but it will also reassure NASA that the tank can withstand the tough tests of launch and space flight.
Mike Nichols, chief test engineer for the tank, said: “This final tank test marks the largest controlled failure test in NASA’s rocket-stage pressurized tank history. This data will benefit all aerospace companies that design rocket tanks. “