NASA has successfully conducted a 9-minute-long test of the RS-25 engine as part of the 7-test series of the engine for its next-generation megarocket that will take astronauts to asteroids, Mars and other deep-space missions.
The RS-25 engine at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, with four RS-25s will power the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket that will launch astronauts in the Orion spacecraft on missions to deep space and eventually on the journey to Mars.
The RS-25 blazed on the test stand for 535 seconds – the same amount of time the core engines will fire during an actual SLS launch.
The RS-25, which was the main engine for NASA’s now-retired space shuttle fleet, is being upgraded for Mars and deep space journey to withstand heat generated initially at the time of ignition. The controller links the engine by regulating the thrust and fuel-mixture ratio while monitoring the engine’s status.
“The tests also support the development of a new controller, or ‘brain,’ for the engine, which monitors engine status and communicates between the vehicle and the engine, relaying commands to the engine and transmitting data back to the vehicle,” said NASA scientists after the test.
The Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion is likely to be blasted off together in 2018 on NASA’s Mars Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) on its 7-day journey to the moon for a real test.
Here is an infographic on how it works: