MSFC Conducts ‘First Light Test’ for Space Launch System

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There’s a major test today in the development of the SLS, the Space Launch System, being developed at Marshall Space Flight Center.

Today, the team is testing the software, hardware and avionics systems.  The “First Light Test,” as it’s called, started at 9 a.m. at Marshall’s Systems Integration and Test Facility.

Engineers explained they gave the test that name, comparing it to what someone would see when they look, for the first time, through a telescope and see the first light.  The tests Thursday morning gave the engineers their first light look at what their software can do.

It includes what they say is the most powerful computer processor ever used on a launch vehicle flight system.

NASA and Boeing avionics experts answered questions and ran a simulation of the system to see how SLS will perform from launch to orbit in space.  Boeing is the prime contractor for the SLS core stage, which will eventually be more than 200 feet tall.

Engineers say SLS will have the greatest capacity of any launch system ever built.  It will be capable of powering missions to deep space, minimizing cost and risk of such missions.  They are thrilled to have developed the systems in just two years, right on schedule and under budget.

The first flight test of the SLS, the replacement for the space shuttle, is scheduled for 2017.

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