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NASA preparing to test engine for "most powerful rocket in the world"

Test taking place at Stennis Space Center in MS Saturday afternoon
NASA Moon Rocket
Posted at 12:21 PM, Jan 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 15:28:34-05

NASA is preparing to test-fire engines Saturday near Bay St. Louis that could send a rocket to the moon in 2022.

The Stennis Space Center will test all four engines on its new Space Launch System, the only rocket that will be able to send the Orion spacecraft, astronauts, and cargo to the moon in a single mission, reports the Associated Press.

WATCH LIVE:

Once assembled, the system, which has been in production for nearly a decade, will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty. According to NASA, the fully assembled system will be "the most powerful rocket in the world."

The test window is currently running an hour ahead of schedule, and the test broadcast is now scheduled to begin at 3:20 p.m. EST (2:20 p.m. CST). The test is targeted for as early as 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. CST). Follow here for the latest updates or follow @NASA_SLS on Twitter.

The firing of the four RS-25 engines will produce a combined 1.6 million pounds of thrust. The sound level will depend on how close an individual is to the test site and weather conditions. NASA says the acoustic level is expected to be about 10-20 decibels higher than during a normal single engine test at the site.

Meteorologist Payton Malone out of WWLTV in New Orleans shared a graphic Saturday afternoon, showing that the engine test could be heard by anyone living within 60 miles of Stennis, including New Orleans, Hammond, Slidell, and Gulfport.

The test isn't open to an in-person audience because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but NASA will stream live coverage beginning at 4:20 p.m. on NASA Television and the NASA website. Click here to watch NASA Television.

Read more from AP here.

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