American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully conducted a 9-minute long test of a rocket engine that can take humans to Mars. The 12 million horsepower gigantic engine burnt nearly nine swimming pool worth of fuel.
The RS-25 engine was given ignition at Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi. Even though its design is based on a 1970 model but still it is the most powerfull rocket engine yet and scientists have high hope with it as it can take astronauts to the red planet. “It is the most complicated rocket engine out there on the market, but that’s because it’s the Ferrari of rocket engines,” NASA propulsion engineer Kathryn Crowe said.
NASA revealed that four RS-25 engine together will power the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket that will carry astronauts in the Orion spacecraft on mission to celestial bodies including Mars and asteroids.
RS-25 was fired for 535 seconds, it is nearly the same amount of time required for actual launch of SLS. “There are probably some people in the control centre high-fiving, because that was a very successful test,” said Gary Benton, RS-25 test project manager at Stennis, after the test concluded yesterday.
The test is sixth in a series of seven test that NASA has planned. According to NASA official, the tests will put engines in extreme conditions and hotness that it will witness during actual launch. Also, the test supports the development of a new controller for engine that communicates between engine and the vehicle and exchanges commands between engine and vehicle.
NASA will launch SLS and Orion in 2018, on a flight named as Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1). To test copsule’s key components, unmanned Orion will go to seven-day journey around the Moon,