NASA Conducts 2nd RS-25 Test in Latest Series for Artemis Moon Missions

PHOTO CREDIT – NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA conducted a second RS-25 single engine hot fire test April 6 as part of a new

series to support the development and production of engines for the agency’s Space

Launch System (SLS) rocket on future missions to the Moon. The full-duration hot fire of

more than eight minutes (500 seconds) was conducted on the A-1 Test Stand at

NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis. It is part of a scheduled seven-test

series designed to provide valuable data for Aerojet Rocketdyne, lead contractor for the

SLS engines, as it begins production of new RS-25 engines for use after the first four

SLS flights. 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. During the new

test series, operators will focus on evaluating new engine components and reducing risk

in engine operation. They will fire the engine through a range of operating conditions to

demonstrate and verify its capabilities and to provide data to enhance production of new engines being manufactured with cutting-edge and cost-saving technologies. The initial test of the new series was conducted Jan. 28 for 500 seconds as well, the same amount of time the engines must fire during a launch to power the SLS rocket to orbit. During the subsequent full-duration hot fire April 6, operators also gimbaled the RS-25 engine,

using a new NASA-designed vector control system for the first time since it was

installed. “Gimbaling” refers to how the engine must move on a tight circular axis in

order to ensure proper flight trajectory. NASA is building SLS as the world’s most

powerful rocket. SLS 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.

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