NASA entered the stretch run of a key RS-25 certification engine test series with a successful hot fire June 1, continuing to set the stage for future Artemis missions to the Moon.
The hot fire on the Fred Haise Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, marked the ninth in a critical 12 test series. The remaining three tests are scheduled throughout June. The series is designed to certify production of new RS-25 engines by lead contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne for future deep space missions, beginning with Artemis V.
Operators powered the RS-25 engine for more than eight minutes (500 seconds), the same amount of time needed to help launch the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, carrying astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft, into orbit. The engine also was fired up to 113% power, exceeding the 111% level needed during launch, to provide engineers with a margin of operational safety.
The SLS rocket is powered, in part, by four RS-25 engines, firing simultaneously to produce as much as 2 million pounds of combined thrust. NASA launched the maiden Artemis I mission last November and is working toward future Artemis missions to return humans, including the first woman and first person of color, to the Moon. The agency will collaborate with commercial and international partners to build a long-term presence on the Moon as NASA prepares technologies and capabilities needed to send humans to Mars.