NASA Marches on with Test of RS-25 Engine for New Space Launch System

NASA engineers conducted a successful developmental test of RS-25 rocket engine No. 0528 July 29, 2016, to collect critical performance data for the most powerful rocket in the world – the Space Launch System (SLS). The engine roared to life for a full 650-second test on the A-1 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, marking another step forward in development of the SLS, which will launch humans deeper into space than ever before, including on the journey to Mars. Four RS-25 engines, joined with a pair of solid rocket boosters, will power the SLS core stage at launch. The RS-25 engines used on the first four SLS flights are former space shuttle main engines, modified to operate at a higher performance level and with a new engine controller, which allows communication between the vehicle and engine.

NASA conducted a series of developmental tests on the engine last year before testing a flight engine that will be used on its second test flight, known as Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2). EM-2 will be the first crewed flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, launching on the SLS. A second series of developmental tests began July 14. The test was conducted by a team of NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Syncom Space Services engineers and operators. Aerojet Rocketdyne is the prime contractor for the RS-25 engines. Syncom Space Services is the prime contractor for Stennis facilities and operations.

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