NASA keeps working on the engines for their next rocket. Recently, they’ve performed the most powerful test firing for the engines.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket has the goal of carrying humans and cargo in deep space, to the moon and on Mars.
On 21 February at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi, NASA stated that the RD-25 engines were tested and that they’ve reached the highest power so far. The RS-25 engines got up to 113% thrust level for a full-duration test that lasted 260 seconds.
The Engines Were Designed 40 Years Ago
It’s amazing to see that the RS-25 engines that were designed over 40 years ago for NASA’s space shuttle achieved over the 100% thrust, a known margin. But NASA officials said that these engines have been modified and that they’re able to perform better than ever. This is what they stated:
The space vehicle will be equipped with four engines that, combined, will have 2 million lbs. of thrust. And that’s not all: there will be two boosters on the SLS to help the RS-25 engines with more thrust, reaching a total of 8 million lbs. thrust!
Development Carries On
Of course, the SLS will be a project that’s going to need a continuous development, as it will have to be prepared for different types of mission goals and destinations. An initial build was done to carry 26 metric tons to the moon, past low Earth orbit. Its last build went up to 45 metric tons of cargo able to get carried on board.
Not only the RS-25 got tested, but also the flight controller, that received a modification to the design of the engine. The controller will provide a better control of the rest of the SLS rocket. 3D printing was also used in creating a shock-absorbing component – which was tested as well by operators.
The Stennis Space Center has a key role in Space Age history, as the facility was used when the Saturn V rockets were tested for the first journey to the moon.