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NASA tests a booster for the most powerful rocket in the world

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NASA just tested the booster for the new Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in the world. (NASA/Facebook)

NASA just tested the booster for the new Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in the world, and is now one step closer to sending humans to Mars.

NASA successfully fired up its second and last qualification ground test of the booster at Orbital ATK's test facilities in Promontory, Utah on June 28. When ignited, temperatures inside the booster reached nearly 6,000 degrees, according to NASA. During flight, the boosters will provide 75 percent of the thrust needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth. The two-minute test provided NASA with critical data to be evaluated by engineers to see if the booster is certified for flight.

After engineers evaluate the data and if the booster is approved for flight, it should move on to be used on SLS's first unmanned test flight with NASA's Orion spacecraft in late 2018. That test flight will be a key milestone to NASA's Journey to Mars.

"Seeing this test today, and experiencing the sound and feel of approximately 3.6 million pounds of thrust, helps us appreciate the progress we're making to advance human exploration and open new frontiers for science and technology missions in deep space," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

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