See the space view of NASA’s spectacular hot fire test of the lunar rocket


On March 18, 2021, NASA successfully tested the core stage of the Space Launch System in Mississippi. The column was seen by a meteorological satellite.

NASA / Robert Markowitz

On March 18th NASA tested the center stage of its massive Space Launch System rocket., which is designed to power the agency’s ambitious Artemis lunar missions. The images from the ground were spectacular, with the four engines launching a huge white column that floated in a forest near the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

The column was so large that it was detected by NOAA / NASA’s Goes-East weather satellite.

NASA fired the engines for just over eight minutes, creating a huge cloud of steam in the process. Focused on NASA Weather Observation The SPoRT team shared the satellite view of the test on Thursday.

The GIF shows a band of clouds moving across the top of the view. The rocket-made cloud from the SLS test appears as a small but noticeable puff. A yellow arrow indicates its location.

That puff of white was NASA’s SLS test on March 18, seen by the Goes-East satellite.

Data from NASA’s SPoRT / Goes-East satellite

The satellite captured the action with its Advanced Baseline Imager from a great distance. “Several of the sixteen ABI spectral bands aboard GOES-East were able to easily detect the intense plume, probably composed of condensation, from 22,236 miles above the surface,” the SPoRT team said in a statement.

The view from above is a testament to both the satellite’s sensitivity and the sheer power of the SLS rocket, which NASA describes as “the most powerful rocket we have ever built.”

The agency is working for the Artemis I mission, an unmanned expedition around the moon aimed at testing the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft before sending humans back to our lunar neighbor for a visit. The hot fire was quite a sight, both from the surface and from above.

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