Critical engine test for NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket shuts down earlier than planned

NASA fired up the core stage of its massive new rocket — the Space Launch System (SLS) — on Saturday (Jan. 16) in a critical test that appeared to end prematurely when the booster’s engines shut down earlier than planned. 

Smoke and flames billowed from the four RS-25 engines that power the behemoth rocket’s core booster, a centerpiece of NASA’s Artemis moon program, as it roared to life atop a test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Ignition occurred at 5:27 p.m. (2227 GMT), with 700,000 gallons (2.6 million liters) of cryogenic fuel flowing through the engines as they roared for just over 1 minute, much earlier than planned. 

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