The test version of the liquid hydrogen (H2) fuel tank for NASA’s behemoth booster designed to send astronauts on expeditions into deep space has been moved for structural testing.

The largest single piece of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, measuring 149-foot-long, has left the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans for testing at the Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

During the testing, dozens of hydraulic cylinders in will push and pull on the giant tank, subjecting it to the same stresses and loads it will endure during lift off and flight.

The test hardware is structurally identical to the flight version of the liquid H2 tank that will comprise two-thirds of the core stage and hold 537,000 gallons of liquid H2 cooled to minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA’s SLS will be the most powerful rocket the space agency has ever built. When completed, SLS will enable astronauts to begin their journey to explore destinations far into the solar system.


Source: NASA/Steven Seipel