KEA’AU, Hawaii – The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems is conducting a rocket engine firing test at its Lunar Landing Pad Site in Kea’au today and plans to livestream the event at 1 p.m. HST on Sunday so enthusiasts can watch the event as it happens (video above).
PISCES will hold the test on their recently constructed basalt lunar landing pad. The test will consist of a four second burn of a rocket engine whose power is equivalent to 26.5 lbs. of dynamite and could launch a 960 lbs. rocket. PISCES says the experiment “is being conducted to test the durability of the recently built Vertical Take-off/Vertical Landing pad (VTVL) bullseye made of 100 basalt pavers that were robotically set in place.”
“For months PISCES scientists, along with engineers from NASA and Honeybee Robotics, have been working together to construct Hawaii’s first robotically built lunar landing pad using indigenous Hawaiian basalt material mined from a quarry near Hilo, Hawaii,” PISCES officials wrote in a media release. “The basalt found in Hawaii is nearly identical to that found on the Moon and Mars. The initiative will help test methods of construction for Moon and Mars missions. Landing pads offer a flat, stable surface to prevent damages that occur when spacecrafts take off or land on planetary objects. Following the test, scientists will analyze the test data to determine the strength and durability of the pavers.”
The project is part of PISCES’ Additive Construction for Mobile Emplacement project and is a partnership with NASA, Honeybee Robotics, ARGO, Hawaii County Department of Research and Development and the state of Hawaii. PISCES is also partnering with Ena Media Hawaii for the rocket engine firing test.