KILN, Miss. — NASA is one step closer to sending astronauts on a new mission to the moon and ultimately to Mars.
At Stennis Space Center Thursday, NASA successfully tested the engines in the main rocket that will launch the astronauts into space.
The four engines roared and fired for more than eight minutes. The test simulated what will happen when the rocket launches in Florida.
Astronauts called the sight “amazing” and “epic.”
Retired rocket scientist Dan Adamsai traveled across the country to witness history.
“I came out all the way from California just for 8 minutes of hot fire testing,” Adamsai said.
His excitement was echoed by scientists and experts who remained confident this test would pass.
Joe Cassady, the executive director of Space said, “This is the rocket that’s built to take us to deep space. The fact that we’re going to take the first woman and the next man to moon, is just one step along the way. We will use the same rocket for the next 25 years and we will start those missions to get people to Mars.”
Those witnessing the test say while it’s a sight to see, it’s about feeling it.
“It should be around 2 million pounds of thrust coming from these engines. We should be able to feel that and to envision what that’s like when we’re hopefully sitting on the rocket one day,” said Nasa Astronaut Jessica Meir.
Adamsai said, “This is a four engine cluster and I’m just excited to hear the roar, feel it against my chest, see the steam cloud. I’m just so excited to see all of that.”
Meir is enthusiastic about the mission and the possibilities moving forward.
“Things are tangible now and happening. Hopefully soon we will be ready for that Artemis test flight,” Meir said.
The next step is a test launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida.