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NASA reveals the gigantic 200ft tall main tank of its SLS megarocket that could take man to Mars

NASA has finally begun testing the gigantic 200ft main tank of its huge Space Launch System rocket.

The huge liquid hydrogen tank will stores cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the vehicle’s four RS-25 engines when they fire up.

SLS will produce 8.8 million lbs. of maximum thrust, 15 percent more thrust than the Saturn V rocket. 

The huge tank is being stress tested at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

The huge tank is being stress tested at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. More than 200 feet tall with a diameter of 27.6 feet, the liquid hydrogen tank test article is structurally identical to the flight version of the tank that will comprise two-thirds of the core stage of the final SLS.

THE EM-1 MISSION

Nasa’s Orion, stacked on a Space Launch System rocket capable of lifting 70 metric tons will launch from a newly refurbished Kennedy Space Center in 2020.

The uncrewed Orion will travel into Distant Retrograde Orbit, breaking the distance record reached by the most remote Apollo spacecraft, and then 30,000 miles farther out (275,000 total miles).

The mission will last 22 days and was designed to test system readiness for future crewed operations.

More than 200 feet tall with a diameter of 27.6 feet, the liquid hydrogen tank test article is structurally identical to the flight version of the tank that will comprise two-thirds of the core stage of the final SLS.

It will hold 537,000 gallons of supercooled liquid hydrogen at minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Dozens of hydraulic cylinders in the 215-foot-tall test stand will push and pull the tank, subjecting it to the same stresses and loads it will endure during liftoff and flight.       

NASA says there will be several versions of the SLS, although they all uses the core stage with four RS-25 engines. 

The first SLS vehicle, called Block 1, can send more than 26 metric tons (t) or 57,000 pounds (lbs.) to orbits beyond the Moon.  

The next planned evolution of the SLS, the Block 1B crew vehicle, will use a new, more powerful Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) to enable more ambitious missions and carry the Orion crew vehicle along with exploration systems like a deep space habitat module.  

The huge tank being moved into place at NASA¿s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The huge tank being moved into place at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The next SLS configuration, Block 2, will provide 11.9 million lbs. of thrust and will be the workhorse vehicle for sending cargo to the Moon, Mars and other deep space destinations. 

SLS Block 2 will be designed to lift more than 45 t (99,000 lbs.) to deep space.  

 NASA recently released a jaw-dropping video of the moment its deluge system dumps thousands of gallons of water onto Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center.

The first test launch of the Space Launch System rocket, which is supposed to send humans to the moon and ultimately allow deep space exploration, was most recently slated for mid-2020 

The space agency is prepping for the maiden voyage of the $8.9 billion Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will require roughly 450,000 gallons of water during ignition and liftoff to counteract the extreme heat and acoustics.

WHAT IS NASA’S SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM?

Nasa’s Space Launch System, or SLS, is an advanced launch vehicle that will ‘provide the foundation for human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit’, according to the space agency.

Launching with unprecedented thrust power, SLS will carry crews of up to four astronauts in the agency’s Orion spacecraft on missions to explore deep-space destinations.

Offering more payload mass, volume capability and energy to speed missions through space than any current launch vehicle, SLS is designed to evolve over several decades to keep up with modern technologies and payloads.

Nasa's Space Launch System, or SLS, is an advanced launch vehicle that will 'provide the foundation for human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit', according to the space agency (artist's impression)

Nasa’s Space Launch System, or SLS, is an advanced launch vehicle that will ‘provide the foundation for human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit’, according to the space agency (artist’s impression)

These include robotic scientific missions to places like the Moon, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. 

The rocket’s first launch, which will be unmanned, is set for 2019 at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. 

The initial configuration for what SLS can carry past low-Earth orbit and on to the moon is more than 26 metric tons, with a final configuration of at least 45 metric tons.

Nasa intends to send humans to ‘deep-space’ destinations such as Mars and the moon aboard the SLS, with a date for a mission to the red planet set for the 2030s.

In the incredible footage from this month’s wet flow test, a torrential stream of water can be seen spewing straight up into the air and washing over the complex before dwindling to a trickle in just a matter of seconds. 

The latest wet flow test, shown in the footage above, was conducted on October 15 at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B. In less than two minutes from start to finish, the system spews hundreds of thousands of gallons of water into the sky, with the stream climbing to roughly 100 feet into the air like a massive geyser

The SLS rocket will lift off with 8.4 million pounds of thrust, thanks to its four RS-25 engines and two solid rocket boosters.

NASA will use the deluge system to help protect the rocket and everything accompanying it, including the Orion spacecraft, the Mobile Launcher, and the launch pad itself.

The fast-moving water will be sent pouring out onto the launch pad to ‘reduce extreme heat and energy generated by a rocket launch,’ NASA explains.

The space agency is prepping for the maiden voyage of the $8.9 billion Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will require roughly 450,000 gallons of water during ignition and liftoff to counteract the extreme heat and acoustics. An artist's impression of the SLS rocket blasting off is shown

The space agency is prepping for the maiden voyage of the $8.9 billion Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will require roughly 450,000 gallons of water during ignition and liftoff to counteract the extreme heat and acoustics. An artist’s impression of the SLS rocket blasting off is shown

The latest wet flow test was conducted on October 15 at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B.

In less than two minutes from start to finish, the system spews hundreds of thousands of gallons of water into the sky, with the stream climbing to roughly 100 feet into the air like a massive geyser.

NASA has released a jaw-dropping video of the moment its deluge system dumps thousands of gallons of water onto Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center

NASA has released a jaw-dropping video of the moment its deluge system dumps thousands of gallons of water onto Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center

In the incredible footage from this month¿s wet flow test, a torrential stream of water can be seen spewing straight up into the air

In the video hundreds of thousands of gallons of water are released over the complex, before dwindling to a trickle in a matter of seconds

In the incredible footage from this month’s wet flow test, a torrential stream of water can be seen spewing straight up into the air and washing over the complex before dwindling to a trickle in just a matter of seconds

These tests are critical preparations for the SLS launch for the safety of Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) and future missions.

NASA conducted a similar test earlier this year, allowing them to identify any necessary issues and make modifications to improve its performance.

Once it’s finally time for liftoff and all components are put into place though, things will look somewhat different.

‘A geyser occured because the mobile launcher was not present at the pad,’ explained Nick Moss, pad deputy project manager, following the previous test.

‘When the mobile launcher is sitting on its pad surface mount mechanisms, the rest of the IOP/SS system is connected to the pad supply headers and the water will flow through supply piping and exit through the nozzles.’

HOW DOES NASA’S SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM ROCKET MEASURE UP?

Space Launch System, or SLS, is a launch vehicle that Nasa hopes will take its astronauts back to the moon and beyond.

The enormous rocket’s maiden, unmanned cargo flight is currently set for December 2019.

The rocket will have an initial lift configuration, set to launch in the mid-2020’s, followed by an upgraded ‘evolved lift capability’ that can carry heavier payloads. Nasa is yet to set a timeline for SLS’s second iteration.

Space Launch System Initial Lift Capability

– Maiden flight: Mid-2020’s

– Height: 311 feet (98 metres)

– Lift: 70 metric tons

– Weight: 2.5 million kilograms (5.5 million lbs)

Space Launch System Evolved Lift Capability

– Maiden flight: Unknown

– Height: 384 feet (117 metres)

– Lift: 130 metric tons

– Weight: 2.9 million kilograms (6.5 million lbs)

Nasa's Space Launch System will have an initial lift configuration (second from right), set to launch in the mid-2020's, followed by an upgraded 'evolved lift capability' (far right) that can carry heavier payloads

Nasa’s Space Launch System will have an initial lift configuration (second from right), set to launch in the mid-2020’s, followed by an upgraded ‘evolved lift capability’ (far right) that can carry heavier payloads

EM-1 is slated to take off in late 2019 or early 2020 in an uncrewed mission that will test critical systems ahead of future missions with astronauts on board.

‘This is a mission that truly will do what hasn’t been done and learn what isn’t known,’ said Mike Sarafin, EM-1 mission manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

‘It will blaze a trail that people will follow on the next Orion flight, pushing the edges of the envelope to prepare for that mission.’

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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