Aerojet Rocketdyne has passed the final hot-fire acceptance test of an upgraded hydrogen-fueled rocket engine that will be used to power the United Launch Alliance-built Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle.
The RS-68A engine's most recent evaluation was conducted on the B-1 Test Stand at the Stennis Space Center of NASA in Mississippi in partnership with the space agency, Aerojet Rocketdyne said Monday.
The propulsion technology is an update to the RS-68 booster engine and produces 705,000 pounds of thrust at sea level. Three RS-68As provide the Delta IV Heavy rocket with over 2 million pounds of thrust.
Eileen Drake, president and CEO of Aerojet Rocketdyne, said the RS-68A engine has been powering the Delta IV Heavy rocket for over 15 years.
The company held the booster's first test firing in September 2008 and received certification in April 2011. The maiden flight of RS-68A was conducted in June 2012.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is also working on another engine for a super heavy-lift rocket that will be used on NASA’s Artemis program, which will carry humans to the surface of the moon for an exploration mission.
The RS-25 engine for the Space Launch System is set for assembly and test at the Stennis Space Center.