Aerojet Rocketdyne completes sixth rocket engine test

Aerojet Rocketdyne has announced it successfully finished a complete verification test with its RS-25 rocket engine, which will be powering NASA's Space Launch System in the future. The full duration was 535 seconds long; the test was performed alongside NASA at its Stennis Space Center. This marks the half-dozen test out of a planned seven-test series. The first test took place back in January. The RS-25 rocket engine was formerly referred to as the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME), and spent decades in service powering the space shuttle, according to Aerojet.

The company boasts that the RS-25 rocket engine features a staged combustion engine cycle which utilizes liquid oxygen and hydrogen that results in unprecedented performance in comparison to other production-level rocket engines. Even better, the rocket's exhaust is merely steam (water vapor).

If all continues as planned, NASA's SLS will be using four RS-25 engines "at the bottom of the core stage", says Aerojet, which differs from the space shuttle, as it only used three. Other changes will include the solid rocket boosters being move in closer to Rocketdyne's engines, and higher inlet pressure on the engine system due to the SLS having a taller launch vehicle.

Finally, the company says that the controllers for the rockets are being refreshed to handle the upcoming environmental conditions, allowing for better communication between components, health and status monitoring, and more. There is one final test for the RS-25 in the pipeline.

SOURCE: Aerojet Rocketdyne