Tuesday, April 23, 2013

J-2X: Steering to the future

April 4 record test. NASA/SSC photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Engineers developing NASA's next-generation rocket closed one chapter of testing with the completion of a J-2X engine test series on the A-2 test stand at the agency's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Now begins the new chapter of full motion testing on test stand A-1. The J-2X will drive the second stage of the 143-ton heavy-lift version of the Space Launch System. The rocket will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration and send humans in NASA's Orion spacecraft into deep space. J-2X engine 10002 was fired for the last time on the A-2 test stand April 17. This engine set a duration record for J-2X engine firings at Stennis' A-2 test stand on April 4 when it fired for 570 seconds, beating the previous mark set less than a month earlier on March 7, when the same engine ran for 560 seconds. This is the second J-2X engine Stennis has test fired. Last year, test conductors put the first developmental J-2X engine, called 10001, through its paces. According to J-2X managers, both performed extremely well. When the engine is eventually used in space, it will need to be able to move to help steer the rocket. (Source: NASA, 04/22/13, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne via PRNewswire, 04/24/13)