Recently NASA successfully completed a 9 minute test of the engine slated to preside at the heart of the US Space Agency’s next gen super rocket, which will launch the next generation of astronauts to asteroids, Mars and other deep-space locales.
The rocket, called the RS-25, was engaged at Stennis Space Center, in Mississippi.
NASA’S ROCKET TO LAUNCH NEW MANNED SPACECRAFT
The next major manned spacecraft, dubbed the Orion, will be powered by four of these RS-25 engines during its core launch stage of the Space Launch System (SLS). This new system is said to be capable of carrying astronauts to Mars.
The RS-25 fired its payload for 535 consecutive seconds, which is roughly the same amount of time the engines are expected to fire during a real SLS launch.
“There are probably some people in the control contre high-fiving, because that was a very successful test,” mentioned Gary Benton, RS-25 test project manager at Stennis Space Center once the engine’s performance had come to an end.
WHERE IS THIS ROCKET FROM?
The recent test was the sixth of seven hot-fire tests for the RS-25, which was formerly used as the main engine for NASA’s new-mothballed space shuttle fleet, noted ‘Space.com.’
OLD ROCKET, NEW DESIGN
This seven-test series is “designed to put the upgraded former space shuttle main engines through the rigorous temperature and pressure conditions they will experience during a launch,” explained NASA officials. They went on to clarify that “[t]he tests also support the development of a new controller, or ‘brain,’ for the engine, which monitors engine status and communicates between the vehicle and the engine, relaying commands to the engine and transmitting data back to the vehicle.”
“The controller also provides closed-loop management of the engine by regulating the thrust and fuel-mixture ratio while monitoring the engine’s health and status,” they added.
Orion and SLS are to be united in stellar pursuits for the very first time in 2018, on a flight dubbed Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1).