NASA successfully test-fired the core stage of its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for the second time on Thursday afternoon, firing its engines for more than eight minutes. This was a crucial step for the rocket.”The SLS is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, and during today’s test the core stage of the rocket generated more than 1.6 million pounds of thrust within seven seconds. The SLS is an incredible feat of engineering and the only rocket capable of powering America’s next-generation missions that will place the first woman and the next man on the Moon,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a statement. “What a great day and a great test,” he added. The propellant tanks in the core stage can hold more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic propellant and simulate almost 2 million pounds of thrust. Next, the stage will be refurbished as needed and shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the launch of the Artemis I mission, which is very tentatively scheduled for liftoff by the end of the year. It will send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a flight around the moon and back to Earth. Each launch of the Space Launch System will cost up to $2 billion, and the rocket can be used only once. Pieces of the system are built by companies across the country. NASA has so far spent more than $10 billion on the rocket and more than $16 billion on the Orion capsule where the astronauts will sit.