NASA’s test of the world’s largest rocket fuel tank ended with a bang on December 5 as the agency deliberately pushed it beyond breaking point.
Engineers, NASA said, pushed the tank of the Space Launch System (SLS) “beyond its design limits to really understand its breaking point.”
Before that, the liquid hydrogen tank withstood more than 260 percent of expected flight loads during testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. During the tests NASA used large hydraulic pistons to deliver millions of pounds of “punishing compression, tension and bending forces” on the tank.
The tank is planned for use in NASA’s Artemis program, which intends to send a man and a woman to the moon by 2024. NASA unveiled on December 9 the core stage of the SLS moon rocket, which will also be used in the Artemis program. Credit: Jim Bridenstine via Storyful