Title: NASA Begins Final Certification Series for Artemis Moon-Rocket Engines
NASA has recently embarked on the last phase of the certification process for the Artemis moon-rocket engines. The space agency announced that the repurposed RS-25 space shuttle engines will be utilized for the Artemis program, which aims to enable human exploration on the lunar surface.
To ensure the engines’ readiness, NASA has initiated a new hotfire series. The primary objective of this series is to certify the updated RS-25 engines for the upcoming Artemis 5 mission. It is crucial for four RS-25 engines to power the core stage of each Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will carry astronauts to the Moon.
As part of the hotfire series, NASA will collect valuable data on the performance of key engine components. Every scheduled hotfire will test a different RS-25 engine, allowing engineers to analyze results and make any necessary modifications or improvements.
The first milestone in the certification process was a full duration test of the RS-25 certification engine at the Stennis Space Center. The test proved to be successful, with smoke and fire flowing smoothly for over nine minutes. This achievement represents a significant step forward in ensuring the engine’s capability for future SLS missions, starting with Artemis 5.
Looking ahead, NASA has an ambitious timeline for its Artemis program. The Artemis 2 and 3 missions are planned for 2024 and late 2025 or 2026, respectively. These missions will pave the way for further exploration and establish a sustained human presence on the Moon.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, the lead SLS engine contractor, is working closely with Boeing, who is responsible for building the SLS. The collaboration between these two entities is crucial to the success of the Artemis program and achieving NASA’s long-term lunar objectives.
In addition, after the Artemis 8 mission, a subscale booster motor test has been successfully completed for an alternate booster design. This provides NASA with a backup plan and ensures the program’s continuity, even in the face of unforeseen challenges.
The certification series and its successful testing highlight the progress being made by NASA in its ambitious Artemis program. The agency remains committed to exploring the Moon and inspiring future generations with its pioneering spirit.