An engine test was an important preliminary step in the route to a Mars trip. The journey to the Red Planet can wait till thorough test runs have been made.
NASA tested its RS-25 rocket engine for a time span of a little more than 8 minutes. This cleared the way for a new period in space exploration. Mars is the next goal and it is a lofty objective. When a rocket engine starts operating in the future, it will be in order to carry people into deep space.
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This will be the first time in 45 years that such an event will occur. It is indeed a moment of extreme pride for NASA. The future is exciting since besides trips into deep space, a long range journey to Mars lies in the cards.
“What a great moment for NASA and Stennis,” said Rick Gilbrech, director of NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. “We have exciting days ahead with a return to deep space and a journey to Mars, and this test is a very big step in that direction.”
The engine test was a crucial stepping stone along the way in the right direction. This engine was meant for NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System).
Most of the engines that will get employed on the SLS will be leftovers from the Space Shuttle Program of the past times. These powerful engines are the most potent and have the greatest horsepower on the face of the planet.
The engines will be working at 109% thrust. Over two million pounds of thrust will be possible thanks to the engines. It is good to know that the engines that were responsible for taking so many astronauts into space will be utilized for going into deep space and on the Mars trip as well.
“Not only does this test mark an important step towards proving our existing design for SLS’s first flight,” said Steve Wofford, engines manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where the SLS Program is managed for the agency, “but it’s also a great feeling that this engine that has carried so many astronauts into space before is being prepared to take astronauts to space once again on SLS’s first crewed flight.”
The main contractors for the engines have tested them on a consistent basis. These tests determine the control centers or “brains” of the engines too. Various operating protocols are called for in the SLS spacecraft.
“One more powerful step forward accomplished on the SLS journey,” said Ronnie Rigney, RS-25 project manager at Stennis. “It really feels great to be part of such an important program in our nation.”
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Via the NASA Journey To Mars site.