To get the world’s most powerful rocket off the ground, it’s going to take some serious thrust from its rocket boosters.
• NASA successfully tested one of those 77-ton rocket boosters by lighting it up at full power—all while never leaving the ground.
• The rocket booster appeared to work just as expected on its test. To really know how it performed, of course, we’ll have to wait for the engineers to let the rocket cool down and take it apart. But the pictures showed a test that went pretty flawlessly.
• There will actually be two of those boosters attached to NASA’s SLS rocket when it blasts off on its first scheduled test flight in 2018.
• NASA has pinned its hopes for a future Mars mission on that SLS rocket—but first it needs to prove the rocket is ready to get off the ground.
• In preparation, NASA has been testing the rocket piece-by-piece.