EM-1 Flight Engines Complete & Ready for Integration with SLS

Progress towards Exploration Mission-1 continued this month with the completion of work on the four RS-25 engines that will be used to power SLS in its launch of Orion to the Lunar orbit.  This milestone marks the last step before the integration of these four engines on the core stage of SLS for the "green run" testing. 

In its announcement, NASA noted that: "The flight preparations for the four engines that will power NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) on its first integrated flight with Orion are complete and the engines are assembled and ready to be joined to the deep space rocket’s core stage. All five structures that form the massive core stage for the rocket have been built including the engine section where the RS-25 engines will be attached.

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"The SLS has the largest core stage ever built and includes four RS-25 engines, which previously powered NASA’s space shuttle. The RS-25 engines that are being tested and prepared for SLS were proven during the years they were responsible for propelling 135 shuttle missions, and have been upgraded for the first SLS flight. The four that will fly on Exploration Mission-1 supported a total of 21 shuttle missions.

"In total, NASA has 16 flight-proven RS-25 engines and two development engines that are being used as “workhorse” engines for testing. These engines have been used to test new controllers – the brains of the engine – which have now been installed on the flight engines. The flight engines will be attached to the core stage to prepare for green run testing – the final test for the four flight engines and the core stage that will occur before the first mission."           

Aerojet Rocketdyne photo via NASA:  https://www.nasa.gov/feature/first-four-space-launch-system-flight-engines-ready-to-rumble

Aerojet Rocketdyne photo via NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/first-four-space-launch-system-flight-engines-ready-to-rumble

RS-25 Flight Controller Testing Continues!

This summer marked the continuation of a successful series of RS-25 engine tests at NASA's Stennis Space Center.  From NASA:

"NASA engineers closed a summer of successful hot fire testing Aug. 30 for flight controllers on RS-25 engines that will help power the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, being built to carry astronauts to deep-space destinations, including Mars. The space agency capped off summer testing with a 500-second hot fire of a fifth RS-25 engine flight controller unit on the A-1 Test Stand at 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."

Fore more information: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/nasa-concludes-summer-of-testing-with-fifth-flight-controller-hot-fire

Powering up Orion for EM-1!

Last week, Lockheed Martin and NASA powered on the Orion spacecraft that will be launched on Exploration Mission-1.   According to NASA:

“'The initial power-on procedure verified the health and status of Orion’s core computers and power and data units and marks the beginning of critical spacecraft subsystem tests to get us ready for flight,' said Mark Kirasich, NASA Orion program manager. 'Our test team, ground support equipment and flight systems all performed remarkably well during the test. This is a major milestone for Orion and for our long range deep space exploration plans.'

"During the initial power-on tests, engineers and technicians connected the vehicle management computers to Orion’s power and data units to ensure the systems communicate precisely with one another to accurately route power and functional commands throughout the spacecraft for the duration of a deep-space exploration mission. In spaceflight, Orion will generate power through its four solar array wings which collectively hold about 15,000 solar cells that can harness enough electricity to power eight three-bedroom homes. The power and data units then distribute that power as needed throughout the spacecraft."

For more information: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/power-up-system-tests-prepare-orion-for-deep-space-exploration

orion_power-on.jpg