HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - NASA’s team at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County is busy going through data from the Jan. 16 engine testing for its Space Launch System, or SLS.
Some of NASA’S astronauts were on hand for the event, including Matthew Dominik, a Colorado native who came to Stennis to cheer on the burn and his team.
“I’m here rooting for all of the people that put their souls into building this,” Dominik said. “The engineers that stayed up late, the engineers that were at home in the shower and thought ‘oh, what about this?’ and dried off and called or sent an email saying what do we think about this?”
While testing of the four RS-25 engines only lasted one minute instead of the planned eight-minute burn, Dominik said it’s still a thrill ride, and he and others are ready to take those next steps into space.
“If you think about everything we’ve been through in the past year, COVID,” he added. “They’ve set this rocket up, pulled it down, set it up, through hurricanes, through tornadoes.”
If all goes well, the SLS is powered by those engines they tested at Stennis. On top of the spacecraft will be the Orion Capsule, and in 2024, the flight will include the first female astronaut to set foot on the Moon.
“The next man and first woman on that mission are going to be people I know, so I’m very excited to be a part of the space program at this time and watching this incredible return to the Moon,” said Tracy Dyson, NASA astronaut.