An engine test for NASA’s new SLS megarocket ended early on Saturday when system computers automatically shut down the engines after a little over a minute.
They were supposed to run for eight minutes in order to simulate the rocket’s climb into orbit.
The test took place at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
Engineers are now trying to establish exactly what went wrong and caused the experiment to be aborted.
“I want people to be encouraged because the future is very bright, and certainly we’re going to learn a lot from this test,” Jim Bridenstine, Administrator of NASA, told reporters.
“We’re going to learn a lot. We in fact, we already know we have learned a lot, getting up to the point where we actually ignited the rockets we learned a lot. And so, this is a good day. I really think this is a good day. And we test for a reason because we want to learn. And we’re going to continue to learn.”
The SLS, or Space Launch System, is part of NASA’s Artemis programme that aims to land the next man and first woman on the moon by 2024.
It’s being run in collaboration with the EU’s European Space Agency that will supply the ESM, or European Service Module.
It’s possible the SLS could make its first flight later this year. When it does it will become the most powerful rocket to have ever flown into space.