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NASA test-fire of Artemis Moon missions SLS rocket experiences early engine shutdown

The rocket will be tasked with bringing the first woman and next man to the Moon in 2024
Credit: NASA

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss — NASA's final test of its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to make sure it was ready to launch future Artemis Moon missions experienced early engine shutdown.

The core stage engines roared to life for one minute of the expected eight-minute hot fire test before shutting down. Teams on the ground worked to assess the cause and determine the next steps for the agency. 

SLS Program Manager John Honeycutt said the shutdown was initiated after a flash was spotted between the thermal protection blanket on engine 4.

And while today might not have gone as planned for NASA, Administrator Jim Bridenstine says today's hot-fire test is something to be encouraged by.

"I want people to be encouraged because the future is very bright, and certainly we're going to learn a lot from this test," he said.

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Original story: 

The final test for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to ensure it is ready to launch Artemis Moon missions has arrived.

NASA is targeting a two-hour test-fire window that opens at 5 p.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 16. The test will take place at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

"During the test, engineers will power up all the core stage systems, load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercold, propellant into the tanks, and fire all four engines at the same time to simulate the stage’s operation during launch, generating 1.6 million pounds of thrust," NASA said.

Saturday will mark the eighth test of the rocket of the "Green Run Series" to confirm the core stage of the rocket is ready for not only the Artemis I uncrewed test flight, but to carry the next man and first woman to the moon in 2024.

All four RS-25 engines will gradually come to life for eight minutes in hopes of powering the SLS system. And it is no small feat.

"This is a critical time in the history of American spaceflight," NASA said, in part.

NASA's "most powerful" and "tallest" rocket stands taller than the Statue of Liberty with boosters each approximately half the length of a football field. The stage being tested this weekend is 212 ft. on its own.

The last time an American walked on the Moon was back in 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission, making astronaut Harrison Schmitt the last U.S. man to step foot on the Moon.

Live coverage will begin at 4:20 p.m. on NASA Television. You can also tune into 10 Tampa Bay where we will be streaming live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.  

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