NASA developing next-gen rocket engines for deeper space missions

NASA is developing the next generation of rocket engines that will be for deep space mission including missions to the red planet, Mars. NASA has completed the first stage of testing of engines, which will power the next crop of mega rockets on missions deeper into space including manned missions to Mars.

It was the seventh hot fire test of the developmental RS-25 engine on the A-1 test stand located Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The test ran for 535 seconds.

Steve Wofford, engines manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, which is the nerve center of the Space Launch System (SLS) Program said that the test was an important step in the fructification of the journey to Mars. Steve said that RS-25 engine gave SLS an established, high performance and economical propulsion.

The RS-25 is one of the most widely tested and reliable rocket engines in the world and has completed more than million seconds of ground testing and flight operations.

The latest test series was designed to collect data on the RS-25 will perform when operating in extremely high thrust levels.

The RS-25 is a former space shuttle main engine. The data obtained will be useful in the development of the engine controller that will monitor the engine status.

Wofford further added that the testing was crucial to making sure that the engine performs as per desired parameters with the new engine controller, higher propellant input pressure and lower temperatures that are all part of the SLS design.

The SLS core stage will get power from, four RS-25 engines, all firing together at 109% of its operating levels and together generating 2 million pounds of thrust.

The four engines will run concurrently with a pair of 5 segment solid rocket boosters and will generate a thrust of 8.4 million pounds which will lift off the 70 metric tons SLS off the launch pad. The Space Launch System (SLS) will further evolve to a 130-metric-tonne configuration for deep space mission including missions to Mars.