NASA begins test project for SLS rocket

A total of 4 RS-25 engines will power the SLS core stage. (Source: NASA)
A total of 4 RS-25 engines will power the SLS core stage. (Source: NASA)

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WAFF) - NASA engineers took a crucial step Thursday in preparing to test parts of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will send humans to new destinations in the solar system.

An RS-25 engine was installed on a test stand at the Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

The team at Stennis will perform developmental and flight certification testing on the engine, which is a modified version of the space shuttle engine used from 1981 through 2011. The SLS's core stage will be powered by four RS-25 engines.

"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, SLS Liquid Engines Element manager. "This testing will confirm the RS-25 will be successful at powering SLS."

Early tests on the engine will collect performance data on the engine controller and other modifications.

The SLS is designed to carry astronauts in NASA's Orion spacecraft deeper into space than ever before, to destinations including an asteroid and Mars. NASA is using existing and in-development hardware and infrastructure, including the RS-25 engine, to the maximum extent possible to enable NASA to begin deep space missions sooner.

The SLS Program is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. You can follow SLS program progress at MSFC's Twitter page.

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