NASA successfully tests first RS-25 rocket engine designed to take astronauts to Mars
NASA has reached one step closer to send humans to Mars by successfully testing RS-25 rocket engine for 500 seconds. The Space Launch System (SLS), next heavy lift rocket of the space agency which one day will take humans to the Red Planet, will use four RS-25 engines in the core stage.
In a press release, NASA announced that rocket engine No. 2059 will also be tested for 500 seconds.
The engine earlier tested by the space agency was the one that it used during the Space Shuttle Program. After that mission, there were about 16 RS-25 engines left over. Rancho Cordova-based Aerojet Rocketdyne designed the RS-25 engine in a manner that it could meet the requirement of the SLS. After these modifications, the engine will be able to operate at 109% thrust levels.
For the first SLS flights, NASA has planned to use four RS-25 rocket engines that will be joined with two solid rocket boosters. According to Aerojet Rocketdyne, the RS-25 engines are the world’s most reliable rocket booster engine as they have been used in more than 130 space missions for two decades, within 1981 and 2001.
The latest engine test was to validate and check the operating conditions needed for the SLS as per NASA. “Not only does this test mark an important step towards proving our existing design for SLS’s first flight, but it’s also a great feeling that this engine is being prepared to take astronauts to space once again on SLS’s first crewed flight”, said Steve Wofford, engines manager at Marshall Space Flight Center of NASA.
As per NASA’s plans, the SLS rocket will carry the Orion capsule with six astronauts during Journey to Mars initiative.
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