Science

Success! Engine for NASA's Space Launch System Megarocket Aces 3rd Test

Success! Engine for NASA's Space Launch System Megarocket Aces 3rd Test

Space Agency NASA has successfully tested the third flight controller RS-25 for use on super-heavy rocket Space Launch System.

The tests occurred at NASA's Stennis Space Center in MS and involved engine thrust and mixture ratio precision activities. The engine blasted the ground for 500 seconds, the expected time that it would need to reach Earth's atmosphere.

Eileen Drake, president and CEO of Aerojet Rocketdyne, said the evaluation of RS-25 under various conditions helps the company ensure that the technology will offer a safe engine for the country's deep space exploration missions.

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The RS-25 is, as NASA-watchers know, the power-plant the agency is developing to shove its planned Space Launch System skywards.

It involved installing the controller unit on the RS-25 development engine and firing it in the same manner, and for the same length of time, as needed during launch, NASA said in a statement. "The RS-25 is the most efficient booster engine in the world, which is why it is the right engine for human exploration of deep space". "During launch and flight, the controller communicates with the SLS flight computers, receiving critical commands and returning engine health and status data".

RS-25 tests at Stennis are conducted by a team of NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Syncom Space Services engineers and operators. Its first real showcase will be when it sends Orion on its upcoming mission to orbit the moon. This most recent test focused on the engine thrust and mixture ratio precision operation, according to Aerojet Rocketdyne. Aerojet Rocketdyne is the RS-25 prime contractor.