NASA's Boeing moon rocket cuts short in test

NASA's newest deep space rocket built by Boeing might have to stay grounded a little while longer.

The Space Launch System was designed to return US astronauts to the moon by 2024 as part of NASA's Artemis Program.

During an engine test on Saturday, all four of the Space Launch System's engines were ignited together for the first time, but that only lasted over a minute, well below the roughly eight-minute target for the test, designed to simulate the internal conditions of a real liftoff.

It was a crucial test meant to cap a nearly year-long campaign by NASA and Boeing, before a debut unmanned launch later this year.

The premature end of Saturday's test is just the latest in a series of setbacks.

The SLS is three years behind schedule, and nearly $3 billion over budget.

It also faces mounting competition from rival heavy-lifters in the aerospace market like Elon Musks's SpaceX.

It's unclear if there will be another test before its official launch, but the project's program manager told reporters that decision may come as soon as next month.

Video Transcript

- NASAs newest deep space rocket built by Boeing might have to stay grounded a little while longer. The Space Launch System was designed to return US astronauts to the moon by 2024, as part of NASAs Artemis Program. During an engine test on Saturday, all four of SLSs engines were ignited together for the first time, but that only lasted over a minute, well below the roughly eight-minute target for the test designed to simulate the internal conditions of a real liftoff.

It was a crucial test meant to nearly year-long campaign by NASA and Boeing before a debut unmanned launch later this year. The premature end of Saturdays test is just the latest in a series of setbacks. The SLS is three years behind schedule and nearly $3 billion over budget.

It also faces mounting competition from rival heavy lifters in the aerospace market, like Elon Musks SpaceX. It's unclear if there will be another test before its official launch, but the projects program manager told reporters that decision may come as soon as next month.