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NASA plans to fire up the world's most powerful rocket stage on Saturday in a vital test for its forthcoming mega-size moon rocket, and you can watch live video of the action below.
The final rocket, called Space Launch System, is designed to eventually stand 365 feet (111 meters) and ferry astronauts to the moon sometime in the mid- to late-2020s. The system is an essential piece of a larger program called Artemis, a roughly $30 billion effort to put boots back on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.
NASA expects to hot-fire the 212-foot (65-meter) core stage of SLS — the system's largest piece and its structural backbone — at Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, around 4 p.m. EST on Saturday. Boeing is the core stage's lead contractor, and Aerojet Rocketdyne is responsible for its four powerful RS-25 engines, which used to help propel NASA's fleet of space shuttles.
The core stage's firing is the eighth and final step in NASA's "Green Run," a program designed to thoroughly test each part of the core stage ahead of SLS's first launch, called Artemis 1 — an uncrewed test flight currently scheduled for November 2021.
An artist's rendering of NASA's Space Launch System rocketing toward low-Earth orbit. NASA via Associated Press
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