Space

NASA Conducts Hot Fire Test of RS-25 Engine for Artemis SLS Moon Rocket

Hot Fire RS-25 Engine Test

NASA conducted the first hot fire on January 28, 2021, in a new series of tests for production of RS-25 engines that will help power the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on future deep space missions.

The test of RS-25 developmental engine No. 0528 on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, marks the beginning of a seven-test series designed to provide valuable data to Aerojet Rocketdyne, lead contractor for SLS engines, as the company begins production of new RS-25 engines.

Four RS-25 engines help power SLS at launch, firing simultaneously to generate a combined 1.6 million pounds of thrust at launch and 2 million pounds of thrust during ascent. The RS-25 engines for the first four SLS flights are upgraded space shuttle main engines and have completed certification testing. NASA now is focused on providing data to enhance production of new RS-25 engines and components for use on subsequent SLS missions.

The new test series will evaluate the performance of engine components made with cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and techniques. The testing is part of NASA’s and Aerojet Rocketdyne’s effort to use advanced manufacturing methods to significantly reduce the cost and time needed to build new RS-25 engines.

For the January 28 test, the RS-25 developmental engine was fired for a full duration of about eight-and-a-half minutes (500 seconds), the same amount of time the engines must fire to help send SLS to orbit. The engine was fired at 111% of its original space shuttle main engine design power and the same power level needed to help launch SLS on its missions.

The hot fire marks the first test on the historic stand since April 2019, when NASA concluded testing of RS-25 engines for the first four SLS missions. Since that time, Stennis teams have worked to complete major maintenance and upgrade projects to the A-1 Test Stand and its systems to ensure future test capabilities.

Among other projects, the work featured installation of a new NASA-designed-and-manufactured thrust vector control system on the test stand that allows operators to “gimbal” test RS-25 engines, moving them on a tight circular axis as must be done in flight to ensure proper trajectory.

NASA is building SLS as the world’s most powerful rocket. Initial SLS missions will fly to the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program, including the Artemis I uncrewed test flight this year that will pave the way for future flights with astronauts to explore the lunar surface and prepare for missions to Mars.

RS-25 tests at Stennis are conducted by a combined team of NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Syncom Space Services operators. Syncom Space Services is the prime contractor for Stennis facilities and operations.

Correction: An earlier version of the article listed the location as Bay St. Louis, Missouri instead of the correct Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Share

View Comments

By
NASA's Stennis Space Center

Recent Posts

Why Comorbidities Persist: HIV Infection Leaves a “Memory” in Cells

New research reveals why comorbidities persist in people living with HIV, despite suppressing the virus…

November 29, 2022

New Banana-Derived Therapy Is Effective Against All Known Coronaviruses and Flu Strains

The potential therapy was derived from a banana protein. A study published on January 13th,…

November 29, 2022

New Report: Earth Is “Unequivocally” in Midst of Climate Emergency

16 of the 35 planetary vital indicators used by the researchers to measure climate change…

November 29, 2022

20 Times More Intense: New Material Will Help Improve Phone and Television Displays

Researchers have created fluorophores between 2.4 and 20 times more intense than analogs. Scientists have…

November 29, 2022

At Risk for Diabetes? Scientists Recommend Doing This

A new study recommends cutting carbs.  Although low-carb diets are often recommended for individuals who…

November 29, 2022

NASA Assesses Launch Pad for Damage After Launch of the World’s Most Powerful Rocket

Following the successful Artemis I liftoff of the world’s most powerful rocket from NASA’s Kennedy…

November 29, 2022