NASA’s Stennis Space Center had its Administrator, James ‘Jim’ Bridenstine, in attendance for watching how the Aerojet Rocketdyne tried to reveal a way of reducing costs by testing the RS-25 engine. This engine will be used to power NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).
A unique occasion
The setting was made for testing the latest development of the RS-25 engine. This consisted of seeing how the main combustion chamber (MCC) will work. Representing the very heart of the engine, the MCC was made by using hot isostatic pressing (HIP), which is a bonding technique.
This represents a unique manufacturing process which will save money and time, working better than other methods which are more traditional. The initial data was gathered after a test that lasted 319 seconds and it shows that the chamber performed ideally. The test was modeled according to the SLS flight program.
The Space Launch System
NASA’s new rocket will be powered by four such engines. At this time, the SLS program is in possession of 16 RS-25 engines remaining from the space shuttle, which can guarantee four flights.
NASA is working on making new controllers for this engine and during the development test they tried to see if another controller will be certified for being integrated with a flight engine. For future flights, the engines will include additional manufacturing updates which are meant to reduce the costs for certain parts of the engine.
This company was contracted by NASA to make the engines for the next SLS missions. In manufacturing them, the company will use the components and the techniques which are validated through this development engine test at Stennis.
The HIP-bonded MCC is the latest component developed coming from this contract. It creates bonds between the engine’s details through high pressure and heat.