NASA completed a full-duration hot fire of the RS-25 certification engine on May 23, continuing a critical test series to support future SLS (Space Launch System) missions to deep space as NASA explores the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all.
The test on the Fred Haise Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, marked the eighth in a 12-test certification series that will support production of RS-25 engines by lead engine contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne for future Artemis missions, beginning with Artemis V. Engineers fired the RS-25 engine for almost eight-and-a-half minutes (500 seconds), the same amount of time it must operate to help send astronauts in the Orion spacecraft to space. The engine operated up to the 113% power level during the test, beyond the required 111% needed to get SLS to orbit. The increased power provides engineers with a margin of operational safety during testing.
Four RS-25 engines fire simultaneously to generate a combined 1.6 million pounds of thrust at launch and 2 million pounds of thrust during ascent to help power each SLS flight. Through Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon and collaborate with commercial and international partners to establish the first long-term presence on the Moon. The agency will use what it learns on and around the Moon to then send the first astronauts to Mars.
The RS-25 powered the space shuttle for over three decades and completed 135 missions. It is one of the most tested large rocket engines in history, with more than 3,000 starts and more than 1 million seconds of total ground test and flight firing time.
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