The leading rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne announced June 21 that it successfully completed the first in a series of full motion hot-fire tests on the J-2X engine at John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
NASA has selected the J-2X as the upper-stage propulsion for the evolved 143-ton (130-metric ton) Space Launch System (SLS), an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle.
“This successful test was extremely important in that it provided valuable information on how the engine will operate during flight as it steers humans aboard the Space Launch System to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit and ultimately to Mars,” said Walt Janowski, program manager, Aerojet Rocketdyne.
“The live fire also gives us an opportunity to ensure that the A-1 test stand, where the J-2X was gimbaled, will be ready to test the RS-25 engines, which will be used to power the core stage of the SLS in 2017.”
The A-1 test stand allowed engineers to gimbal, or pivot, the J-2X engine during a live firing, and to test the range of motion for the engine’s flexible parts. Gimbal tests on that stand were last performed on the Space Shuttle Main Engines, which powered all 135 space shuttle missions with 100 percent ascent mission success. Those engines, also called RS-25s, will return to the test stand in 2014 for use on the core stage of the SLS.