View the space image from NASA’s dramatic hot-fire test with lunar rocket

On March 18, 2021, NASA successfully tested the core phase of the Space Launch System in Mississippi. The plume was seen by a weather satellite.

NASA / Robert Markowitz

On March 18 NASA fired the core stage of its honking huge Space Launch System rocket, which is designed to support the agency’s ambitious Artemis lunar missions. The images from the ground were spectacular, with the four engines turning off a huge white plume that drifted into a forest near the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

The plume was so large that it was spotted by the NOAA / NASA Goes-East weather satellite.

NASA fired the engines for just over eight minutes, creating a massive cloud of steam. NASAs focused on weather observation The SPoRT team shared the satellite view of the test on Thursday

The GIF shows a band of clouds moving across the top of the image. The missile cloud from the SLS test appears as a small but noticeable pull. A yellow arrow indicates the location.

That cloud of white was the NASA SLS test on March 18, as seen by the Goes-East satellite.

NASA SPoRT / Goes-East satellite data

The satellite captured the action from a great distance with its Advanced Baseline Imager. “Several of the ABI’s 16 spectral bands aboard GOES-East were able to easily detect the intense plume, likely consisting of condensation, from 22,236 miles above the surface,” the SPoRT team said in a statement.

The view from above is a testament to both the sensitivity of the satellite and the tremendous power of the SLS rocket, which NASA describes as “the most powerful rocket we’ve ever built.”

The agency is working on the Artemis I mission, an unmanned lunar expedition designed to test the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft before sending humans back to our lunar neighbor for a visit. The hot fire was a beautiful sight, from the surface as well as from far above.

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