APR 07, 2019 7:58 AM PDT

NASA Test-Fires the Last of its Leftover RS-25 Engines for the Upcoming SLS Rocket

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA acknowledged just under three weeks ago that it was having trouble meeting the stringent development deadlines for its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket – the space vehicle that will eventually ferry astronauts to the Moon and beyond – but the American space agency continues to push on with the platform’s development despite these complications.

NASA test-fires an RS-25 engine for the SLS rocket.

Image Credit: NASA/SSC

Citing an official statement from NASA, agency engineers conducted a static test-fire of the SLS rocket’s RS-25 flight engine No. 2062 at the A1 test stand at NASA’s Mississippi-based Stennis Space Center on Thursday. But perhaps more importantly, this particular test-fire realized an essential milestone in the SLS rocket’s development.

As it would seem, NASA has now tested every one of its 16 available engines without a hitch. This is terrific news in terms of the SLS rocket’s development because it means NASA won’t need to waste any time improvising in the engine department. 

“Engines are now a ‘go’ for missions to send astronauts forward to the Moon to learn and prepare for missions to Mars,” exclaimed Johnny Heflin, the deputy manager of NASA’s SLS Liquid Engines Office. “We’re ready to provide the power to explore the Moon and beyond.”

Related: The first SLS rocket launch will be uncrewed for safety assessment purposes

Notably, these engines aren’t new to NASA – in fact, the space agency has a long history with them. They were formerly built to be the Space Shuttle’s main engines, and now that the Space Shuttle program is retired, NASA is repurposing them because they can generate the immense thrust that NASA’s massive SLS rocket will require.

As NASA explains, the engines were designed to sustain an operating threshold of ‘100 percent’ during the Space Shuttle era, and engineers tweaked them to operate at 104.5 percent back in the day. But even that won’t be enough for the SLS rocket; NASA intends to push the tried-and-true engines to an operating threshold of 111 percent with additional power to spare using just engine controller upgrades and other minor modifications.

Given the satisfactory results of some of NASA’s most recent static test-fire assessments, it seems that the RS-25 rocket engine is more than capable for the job. That said, NASA is contracting with manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne to build more engines such that the space agency will always have a cache of them on hand when a mission necessitates them.

All the delays in recent memory have made it tough to discern when exactly NASA’s SLS rocket will carry astronauts into space, but the most recent approximation on the space agency’s behalf implies that astronauts could fly around the Moon in an Orion spacecraft launched via SLS by 2022.

As always, only time will tell if NASA can meet this deadline, but the developments made along the way should be exciting nonetheless.

Source: NASA

About the Author
Other
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 03, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Martian Core Identified Through Planetary Scan
Martian Core Identified Through Planetary Scan
In a recent study published in Nature Astronomy, a pair of researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) hav ...
DEC 10, 2022
Space & Astronomy
What is the International Space Station?
What is the International Space Station?
Orbiting hundreds of miles above the Earth is humanity’s largest technological construction, the football field-si ...
DEC 06, 2022
Space & Astronomy
What is a supernova?
What is a supernova?
What is the largest explosion you’ve ever heard of or seen? Is it fireworks? Rocket launches? Nuclear explosions? ...
DEC 06, 2022
Space & Astronomy
"Stellar Feedback" Limits Star Formation
"Stellar Feedback" Limits Star Formation
In a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers have detailed how groups of stars can regulate their ...
DEC 15, 2022
Space & Astronomy
A Faint Glow Was Detected in Our Solar System
A Faint Glow Was Detected in Our Solar System
How dark is space? That’s a question that some astronomers are trying to answer. To do so, they sorted through 200 ...
JAN 09, 2023
Space & Astronomy
Saturn's Walnut-Shaped Iapetus | Solar System Moons
Saturn's Walnut-Shaped Iapetus | Solar System Moons
We recently explored Saturn's moon, Pan, and its unique, food-like features that emanate from gathering dust via Saturn' ...
Loading Comments...