Today we successfully tested one of our RS-25 engines, four of which will help power our Space Launch System (SLS) to deep space destinations, like Mars! This 500-second engine test concludes a summer of successful hot fire testing for flight controllers at our Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
The controller serves as the “brain” of the engine, communicating with SLS flight computers to ensure engines are performing at needed levels. The test marked another step toward the nation’s return to human deep-space exploration missions.
We launched a series of summer tests with a second flight controller unit hot fire at the end of May, then followed up with three additional tests. The flight controller tests are critical preparation for upcoming SLS flights to deep space– the uncrewed Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), which will serve as the first flight for the new rocket carrying an uncrewed Orion spacecraft, and EM-2, which will transport a crew of astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft.
Each SLS rocket is powered at launch by four RS-25 engines firing simultaneously and working in conjunction with a pair of solid rocket boosters. The engines generate a combined 2 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. With the boosters, total thrust at liftoff will exceed 8 million pounds!
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