Jessica Rye October 7, 2004
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
KSC Release No. P15-04
Final Piece of Discovery's Driving Force Now at KSC
Inside the KSC Engine Shop, Boeing-Rocketdyne technicians remove the container that enclosed the third and final Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) for Discovery's Return to Flight mission STS-114. The engine is returning from NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi where it underwent a hot fire acceptance test. Typically, the three main engines are installed on an orbiter in the Orbiter Processing Facility approximately five months before launch. The SSME operates at greater temperature extremes than any mechanical system in common use today. The liquid hydrogen fuel is -423 degrees Fahrenheit, the second-coldest liquid on Earth. When the hydrogen is burned with liquid oxygen, the temperature in the engine's combustion chamber reaches +6000 degrees Fahrenheit. The maximum equivalent horsepower developed by the three SSMEs during launch is slightly more than 37 million horsepower. The energy released is equivalent to the output of 23 Hoover Dams. Discovery is currently targeted for launch no earlier than May 14, 2005.
KSC Photo Number: KSC-04PD-2089
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