NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to send astronauts back to the moon, has reached a significant milestone as the space agency initiates the final certification series for the moon-rocket engines. The program will utilize repurposed RS-25 engines, previously used in the space shuttles, for the Artemis missions.
The certification process involves conducting a “hot fire” test to ensure the engines meet the required standards for the Artemis 5 mission. The RS-25 engine is responsible for powering the core stage of each Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will be crucial for sending astronauts to our lunar neighbor.
During the hotfire series, NASA will collect data on various new engine components, including a nozzle, hydraulic actuators, flex ducts, and turbopumps. This data will be crucial in certifying the updated RS-25 engine line for future Artemis missions.
This recent test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center lasted for over nine minutes, marking a significant achievement in the certification process. It follows a previous hotfire series that successfully certified another RS-25 engine in June.
The certification process is vital as it paves the way for future SLS missions, starting with Artemis 5, which has the potential to launch in the 2030s. Aerojet Rocketdyne, a company under L3Harris Technologies, is the lead SLS engine contractor, while Boeing is responsible for constructing the SLS.
In addition to the engine certification, NASA is also conducting tests on other components for future missions. This includes testing a subscale booster motor at the Marshall Space Flight Center, further demonstrating NASA’s commitment to advancing space exploration.
With the final certification series underway and various components being tested, the Artemis program is on track to make history by returning astronauts to the moon. This significant milestone brings us one step closer to realizing NASA’s ambitious goals of further exploring the lunar surface and paving the way for future human missions to Mars and beyond. Stay tuned for more updates on the Artemis program as it continues to unfold.
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