On August 18, NASA engineers have managed to test the RS-25 rocket engine, the most powerful engine they have ever developed. The test took place at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and involved a number of other development tests for hardware that will form the most powerful rocket ever.
The test involved four RS-25 engines that were built by Aerojet Rocketdyne and two rocket boosters. This hardware will be installed on NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for future deep space missions like the one to Mars. This type of engines was previously used for space shuttle flights. NASA engineers need to improve them so they can fire at higher performance levels required by the SLS.
According to Rich Mastracchio, a space shuttle astronaut:
“SLS is going to be the most powerful rocket ever built when it’s done several years from now. It’s going to have to throw up all this hardware into low-Earth orbit so we can then take it to the moon and beyond, all the way to Mars.”
He also emphasized how the powerful RS-25 engines of the SLS coupled with the Orion spacecraft would open the way to the exploration of the solar system for astronauts. It would also change the way spaceflight works and the future of deep-space missions.
The recent test collected data on the performance of the engine at that level. NASA also tested an engine controller unit which will allow the RS-25 rocket engine to exchange data with the rest of the SLS setup. This test was only the third in a series of six that will allow NASA to gather essential data on the engine under various conditions. Another test is scheduled this fall, in which engineers will install four engines on the SLS core stage and fire them up all at once.
The test was conducted in coordination with personnel from Aerojet Rocketdyne and Syncom Space Services. It also served as the main attraction for two days media events that NASA officials scheduled to show off their nearby Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. They also discussed their progress towards the long-awaited crew mission to Mars.
What do you think about the RS-25 rocket engine test and the Mars Mission?
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