Video: Firing test of RS-25E engine for future SLS lunar rocket
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released a video testing an engine that will be used in future Space Launch System (SLS) rockets. They will be used in the Artemis lunar programme.
Here's What We Know
NASA is using the RS-25 engine. This development can hardly be called new. The engine was used in the space shuttle more than 40 years ago. However, the Federal Space Agency has upgraded it several times over the decades and continued to use it after the shuttle flights were discontinued.
In more detail, the Artemis lunar programme uses a simplified version of the RS-25, which is designated RS-25E. The downgrade allowed the agency to save money and make the engine disposable. It is equipped with new controllers and some components have been 3D-printed.
NASA conducted a full duration test. This means that the RS-25E ran for as long as it would have to function aboard an SLS rocket. The engine's thrust was almost 190 tonnes, making it the most powerful in the US.
The space agency said Boeing was already completing the assembly of the SLS main stage for the Artemis II mission. It will be equipped with a quartet of RS-25E engines. In parallel, the company is beginning to prepare for the assembly of the SLS for Artemis II.
NASA will use the Block I SLS rocket in the Artemis II and Artemis III missions. It will then be replaced by the Block 1B configuration. It will do away with the cryogenic propulsion stage, which was also used in the Artemis I mission in 2022. Instead, a kind of "research upper stage" will be used.