JOHN C. STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (WGNO) – “From the moon to Mars,” that is NASA’s mission for the Artemis program.
One of the rockets for Artemis V was put to the test Wednesday at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
“You’re about to get a good bit of noise, you’re about to get the half million pounds of thrust coming out of the highest performance rocket engine on the planet,” Space Launch System chief engineer John Blevins explained ahead of the test.
It was the seventh test for the RS-25 engine, and there are 12 scheduled tests for certification.
“Today, we’re going to run at 113% rated power level,” Blevins said. “We’re going to only run it 111% in flight, so it’s a stress-in-case. We’re going to go 10-and-a-half minutes, and the flight is just over 8 minutes, so we’re going to have a good stress-in-case test today for the restart engine.”
Before the engine arrived at the Fred Haise Test Stand, it was at the engine assembly facility, which is also located on the grounds of the Stennis Space Center.
“We’re building a modernized version here, restarting a production line after a 15-year gap, and we’re in the process of right now with our first new built engine of testing it, going through a series of certification tests,” Aerojet Rocketdyne Space senior vice president Jim Maser said.
Nearby at the B-2 test stand is where crews will be testing Artemis’ Exploration Upper Stage, which will allow NASA to send astronauts and cargo to the moon.
“We need to test it to make sure that it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do,” NASA B-2 test stand director Ryan Roberts said. “One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions.”
Artemis II is scheduled to launch in November 2024.