NASA is poised to test an engine for the Space Launch System, a rocket the agency and Boeing are building to send the Orion manned spacecraft into deep space.
Engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi positioned the RS-25 rocket engine on a testing platform Thursday for developmental and certification flight tests, the agency said Thursday.
“This test series is a major milestone because it will be our first opportunity to operate the engine with a new controller and to test propellant inlet conditions for SLS that are different than the space shuttle,” said Steve Wofford, NASA manager for the SLS liquid engines element.
RS-25 is a modification of the Space Shuttle main engine used in the agency’s spaceflight missions between 1981 and 2011.
NASA says the heavy-lift rocket will have four RS-25s and is designed to propel Orion astronauts to Mars and other distant solar system destinations.
The agency awarded contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne to configure the motors for SLS missions.