NASA has successfully tested their first rocket engine for the next heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), for 500 seconds.
NASA stated that “The next time the rocket engine fires for that long, it will be carrying humans on their first mission in deep-space.”
The prime contractor for the RS-25 engine that was used in the testing ‘Aerojet Rocketdyne, has modified the engine to meet the performance requirements for the SLS. The modifications will enable to operate at 109 percent thrust levels, up from the 104 percent thrust level.
Because RS-25 engines were also used in 135 space shuttle missions between 1981 and 2001,they are “the world’s most reliable rocket booster engine.” As Aerojet Rocketdyne calls them.
“Not only does this test mark an important step towards proving our existing design for SLS’s first flight, but it’s also a great feeling that this engine that has carried so many astronauts into space before is being prepared to take astronauts to space once again on SLS’s first crewed flight.” – Steve Wofford, engines manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
This week’s test was used to validate the updated engine’s capabilities and verify the different operating conditions needed for the SLS. NASA will though continue Engines testing at NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi,