Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

SLS Core Stage Engine: In It for the Long Haul
by Staff Writers
Huntsville AL (SPX) Jan 11, 2015

illustration only

How easy would it be to take the engine out of your current car and stick it into a different car? If you're a mechanic, you know it is entirely possible but would take some care. That's what NASA's doing now to get the RS-25 rocket engine that successfully powered the space shuttle fleet for 30 years ready to fly on NASA's next great rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).

NASA is designing SLS, which will be capable of exploring deep space destinations like an asteroid and eventually Mars, with affordability in mind, and using a combination of heritage hardware and modern manufacturing practices.

The agency's new rocket will build on the success of the RS-25 space shuttle main engine, the shuttle's solid rocket booster and the 27.5-foot-diameter external tank manufacturing infrastructure. The result will be the most powerful launch vehicle in the world, with more than twice the payload mass of the shuttle.

The SLS core stage is designed around four RS-25s. NASA has 16 flight engines currently in its fleet, as well as two of development engines for ground testing. Engineers have performed extensive analysis to understand how the engines will work for SLS, but will continue to study the integrated design with detailed analysis and, ultimately, by firing the engine on its test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

"The RS-25 is the most efficient engine of its type in the world," said Steve Wofford, manager of the SLS Liquid Engines Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, where the SLS Program is managed. "It's got a remarkable history of success and a great experience base that make it a great choice for NASA's next era of exploration."

Under an existing contract with Aerojet Rocketdyne, prime contractor for the RS-25, engineers at Stennis are preparing for engine testing to begin the process of adapting the engine to meet SLS performance requirements and environments from the launch pad to space.

On the shuttle, the RS-25 routinely operated at 491,000 pounds of thrust. On SLS, it will operate at 512,000 pounds of thrust for the first four flights. Before launch, the four engines in the SLS core stage will encounter colder liquid oxygen propellant temperatures and a colder engine compartment in the SLS core stage.

Beginning at engine and booster ignition, the engines will encounter higher propellant inlet pressure and greater exhaust nozzle heating due to differences in the SLS design. The higher thrust and greater cooling, heating and pressure will be part of the upcoming test series and later core stage testing. The upcoming tests will also include the new engine controller design that replaces the RS-25's original three-decade-old engine computer.

NASA plans to restart RS-25 production to provide engines for future flights by working with Aerojet Rocketdyne to further adapt and modify the engine design to be more affordable, while increasing the planned thrust to 521,700 pounds.

"We had identified significant cost and time saving ideas for the RS-25 before the shuttle program ended," Wofford said. "We see many opportunities for process and manufacturing savings with the change to an expendable engine and the maturation of technologies, such as 3D printing and structured light scanning."

Initial production will be for six new engines and more beyond that once NASA gains experience with the design and manufacturing changes. With that, the RS-25 is expected to be exploring space for many more decades and building on its space shuttle legacy.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Space Launch System
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

RS-25 Engine Testing Blazes Forward for Space Launch System
Stennis Space Center MS (SPX) Jan 11, 2015
The new year is off to a hot start for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS). The engine that will drive America's next great rocket to deep space blazed through its first successful test Jan. 9 at the agency's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The RS-25, formerly the space shuttle main engine, fired up for 500 seconds on the A-1 test stand at Stennis, providing NASA enginee ... read more

Service module of China's lunar orbiter enters 127-minute orbit

Service Module of Chinese Probe Enters Lunar Orbit

Chinese spacecraft to return to moon's orbit

Russian Company Proposes to Build Lunar Base

Russia-EU Mars Research Program to Be Completed

Mars is warmer than some parts of the U.S. and Canada

NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Climbs to High Point on Rim

Potential Signs of Ancient Life in Mars Rover Photos

NASA, Nissan to Create Interplanetary Driverless Vehicles

The 'human' side of robots at electronics show

Homes becoming mindful members of the family

Drones, flashy TVs among stars in Las Vegas tech show

China launches the FY-2 08 meteorological satellite successfully

China's Long March puts satellite in orbit on 200th launch

Countdown to China's new space programs begins

China develops new rocket for manned moon mission: media

Space station worms help battle muscle and bone loss

Fresh supplies and experiments for Samantha

SpaceX delivers late Xmas gifts to Space Station

SpaceX sets new launch date

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to shake up satellite industry

Vega ready to launch ESA spaceplane

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

SpaceX launches cargo to ISS, rocket ocean landing fails

A twist on planetary origins

NameExoWorlds contest opens

CfA: Eight New Planets Found in "Goldilocks" Zone

Eight new planets found in 'Goldilocks' zone

Raytheon's enhanced AESA radar a boon for F/A-18 aircraft

New Satellite Technologies For Cleaner Low Orbits

Developing New Materials For Energy Transduction

Transforming planar materials into 3-D microarchitectures

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.