Tech

April 25, 2012

J-2X engine ready for second test series

NASA photograph
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (right) takes an up-close look at the first development J-2X engine on the A-2 Test Stand at Stennis, where the engine is being prepared for a second round of testing. Pictured with Bolden is A-2 Test Stand Director Skip Roberts. The J-2X engine will provide upper-stage power for NASA's evolved Space Launch System, a new heavy-lift launch vehicle capable of missions to deep space. The J-2X is being developed for NASA by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

The next-generation engine that will help carry humans deeper into space than ever is back, bigger and better.

The J-2X engine is currently on the A-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for an extensive round of tests to build on last year’s successful test firings. The engine will provide upper-stage power for NASA’s evolved Space Launch System, a new heavy-lift rocket capable of missions to deep space.

“We’re making steady and tangible progress on our new heavy-lift rocket that will launch astronauts on journeys to destinations farther in our solar system,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who recently visited Stennis and saw the J-2X in its test stand. “As we continue test firings of the J-2X engine and a myriad of other work to open the next great chapter of exploration, we’re demonstrating our commitment right now to America’s continued leadership in space.”

The space agency conducted an initial round of sea-level tests on the first developmental engine last year. This second test series will simulate high-altitude conditions where the atmospheric pressure is low. The SLS will use J-2X engines on the second stage of flight after the first stage is jettisoned.

“The first round of testing helped us get to know the engine, how it operates and its basic performance characteristics,” said Tom Byrd, J-2X engine lead in the SLS Liquid Engines Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “Now, we’re looking forward to testing J-2X in the SLS flight configuration, collecting nozzle data and continuing to learn about the performance of the engine itself.”

NASA has worked closely with the J-2X prime contractor, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif., to prepare the J-2X engine, dubbed E10001 for its second round of tests.

The J-2X engine nozzle is different from the nozzle used on the space shuttle main engine for the last 30 years of space missions. While the space shuttle main engine nozzle was hydrogen cooled to save weight, the J-2X hydrogen-cooled nozzle is shorter and attached to a lightweight, passively cooled nozzle extension.

A total of 16 tests are scheduled, tentatively beginning this Wednesday. They are expected to conclude by the end of this year.

In its first round of testing, the J-2X engine reached 100 percent power in just four tests and achieved a full flight-duration firing of 500 seconds in its eighth test, faster than any other U.S. engine. The engine was fired a total of 10 times for a cumulative 1,040 seconds of testing various aspects of performance.

The J-2X is a redesign of the heritage J-2 engine that helped send astronauts to the moon during the Apollo Program in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to testing the engine, NASA is conducting tests on the J-2X powerpack, which includes the gas generator, oxygen and fuel turbopumps, and related ducts and valves. Tests of the powerpack components are being conducted on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis.

The J-2X is being developed for NASA by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne. It is the first new liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen rocket engine developed in 40 years that will be rated to carry humans into space.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
University of Rhode Island photograph by Tom Glennon

NASA kicks off field campaign to probe ocean ecology, carbon cycle

University of Rhode Island photograph by Tom Glennon The Research Vessel Endeavor is the floating laboratory that scientists will use for the ocean-going portion of the SABOR field campaign this summer. NASA embarks this week o...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

NASA’s high-flying laser altimeter to check out summer sea ice, more

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas This summer, the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar, or MABEL, will fly above Alaska and the Arctic Ocean on one of NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude aircraft. Sea ice in summer looks dramatica...
 
 
SOFIA

Outer space to inner space: SOFIA inside Lufthansa Technik hangar

NASA photograph by Jeff Doughty NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is shown inside the Lufthansa Technik hangar in Hamburg, Germany where it is beginning its decadal inspection. Flight, aircraft maint...
 

 
NASA photograph by Tony Landis

New life for an old bird: NASA’s F-15B test bed gets new engines

NASA photograph NASA’s F-15B flight research test bed carries shuttle thermal insulation panels on its underbelly during a research flight in 2005. NASA Armstrong’s F-15B aeronautics research test bed, a workhorse at th...
 
 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

Towed glider benefits from center’s new 3-D printer capability

NASA photograph by Tom Tschida The major components of NASA Armstrong’s new high-resolution 3-D additive manufacturing printer occupy a shelf in the center’s subscale aircraft research lab. Robert “Red” ...
 
 
NASA photograph by Emmett Given

NASA completes testing on 3-D printer

NASA photograph by Emmett Given United Space Alliance engineer Cynthia Azzarita, left, and Boeing Company engineer Chen Deng, members of the Human Factors Integration Team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, conduct a “...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>