NASA begins a new series of tests for the RS-25 engine: a step forward for the Artemis missions
On October 17, NASA began the first test in a new series of tests for the RS-25 engine, marking the start of the final certification phase before producing a new set of engines for the SLS rocket. Space Launch). These engines will be key to powering future Artemis missions to the Moon and beyond.
The RS-25 engine test.
The RS-25 engine fired for more than nine minutes (550 seconds), longer than the 500 seconds required during an actual mission, on the Fred Haise test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St Louis, Mississippi. The engine was also boosted to 111% of the power level needed during the launch of an SLS. This ignition marked the first in a series of 12 tests scheduled through 2024.
Objectives of the test series.
The test series will collect performance data from several key new engine components, including a nozzle, hydraulic actuators, flexible lines and turbopumps, which match the design characteristics of those used during the initial certification of the test series completed in the Mississippi site in June. Aerojet Rocketdyne, the leading company responsible for SLS engines, is using advanced manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing, to reduce the cost and time required to build the new engines. Four RS-25 engines help power the SLS at launch, including its Artemis missions to the Moon.
The role of SLS and the Artemis program
The Space Launch System (SLS)
The Space Launch System (SLS) is NASA’s next-generation launch system, designed to transport astronauts and essential payloads on the agency’s deep exploration missions, including trips to the Moon and Mars. As the backbone of NASA’s Artemis program, the SLS is designed to evolve into different configurations to meet a variety of mission needs, making it the most powerful rocket ever built.
The Artemis program
NASA’s Artemis program is an innovative initiative that aims to return humans to the Moon and lay the foundation for future manned missions to Mars. Following in the footsteps of the Apollo missions, Artemis seeks to establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2024 and plans to take the first woman and next man to the South Pole of the Moon.
Through the program, NASA plans to create a strategic partnership with commercial and international partners, thereby enriching global space exploration efforts. Additionally, the program is designed to leverage the Gateway lunar orbiter for several crewed missions and use the Moon as a testing ground to prepare for the challenges of Martian expeditions.