Nasa to ignite engines of $18bn Space Launch System in effort to return to Moon


NASA is closing in on the final test of its massive rocket that it is hoped will put the first woman and next man on the Moon.

The agency will ignite the engines of its $18.6bn Space Launch System later today for an eight-minute burn to see if it is ready for use this autumn. This will be the second test of the engines and the final run-through before NASA moves to the second stage on the launchpad.

The mission planned for November will be unmanned, but the hope is that this launch system will be used for a future manned mission to the Moon. However, budget constraints have blurred the timeline for such a trip.

According to NASA, the Space Launch System is a “super-heavy-lift launch vehicle” that it says “is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and cargo to the Moon on a single mission”.

Orion is a kind of partially reusable space capsule that is intended to “take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before”.


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