Upper stage engine ready for testing at NASA's Stennis Space Center

Jun 14, 2011

NASA's new J-2X rocket engine, which could power the upper stage of the nation's future heavy-lift launch vehicle, is ready for its first round of testing. The fully assembled engine was installed Saturday in the A-2 Test Stand at the agency's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Beginning in mid-June, the engine will undergo a series of 10 test firings that will last several months.

"An engine is essential to making space exploration outside low-Earth orbit a reality," said Mike Kynard, manager of the J-2X upper stage engine project at NASA's in Huntsville, Ala. "The J-2X goes beyond the limits of its historic predecessor and achieves higher thrust, performance, and reliability than the J2. We are thrilled to have the engine in the test stand to validate our assumptions about engine performance and reliability."

The test stand, which supported the space shuttle main engine project, has been modified to accommodate the J-2X engine's different shape. In addition to the structural, electrical and plumbing modifications, a new engine start system was installed and control systems were upgraded on the stand. The liquid oxygen and liquid lines that dated back to the 1960s were replaced.

Fueled by liquid oxygen and , the J-2X engine will generate 294,000 pounds of thrust in its primary operating mode to propel a spacecraft into low-Earth orbit.

By changing the mixture ratio of to liquid hydrogen, the J–2X can operate in a secondary mode of 242,000 pounds of thrust required to power a spacecraft from to the moon, an asteroid or other celestial destination. The J-2X can start and restart in space to support a variety of mission requirements.

"We are excited to have a new engine in the A-2 Test Stand," said Gary Benton, manager of the J-2X engine testing project at Stennis. "Installation of the J-2X engine marks the beginning of the third major rocket engine test project on this historic stand."

The A-2 Test Stand originally was used to test Saturn V rocket stages for NASA's Apollo Program. In the mid-1970s, the stand was modified from Apollo Program parameters to allow testing of space shuttle main engines.

Explore further: The source of the sky's X-ray glow

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

From Shuttle to Orion

Oct 02, 2006

NASA is marking a historic moment in the life of the nation's largest rocket engine test complex. The Stennis Space Center conducted the final space shuttle main engine test on its A-1 Test Stand on Friday, ...

J-2X turbomachinery complete

Dec 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne have successfully completed the heart of the J-2X upper stage rocket engine -- the turbomachinery assemblies -- for the first development engine off the ...

NASA to begin developing Ares rockets

Dec 17, 2007

The U.S. space agency said it will begin testing core rocket engine components from the Apollo era this month to help build the Ares rocket.

Image: Witch's brew aids J-2X engine hardware assembly

Nov 01, 2010

Manufacturing of NASA's J-2X rocket engine includes a Halloween plunge into an icy cauldron of liquid nitrogen. Key components of the J-2X fuel turbopump were assembled at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s ...

Recommended for you

The source of the sky's X-ray glow

15 hours ago

In findings that help astrophysicists understand our corner of the galaxy, an international research team has shown that the soft X-ray glow blanketing the sky comes from both inside and outside the solar system.

End dawns for Europe's space cargo delivery role

Jul 27, 2014

Europe will close an important chapter in its space flight history Tuesday, launching the fifth and final robot ship it had pledged for lifeline deliveries to the International Space Station.

Giant crater in Russia's far north sparks mystery

Jul 26, 2014

A vast crater discovered in a remote region of Siberia known to locals as "the end of the world" is causing a sensation in Russia, with a group of scientists being sent to investigate.

NASA Mars spacecraft prepare for close comet flyby

Jul 26, 2014

NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

Jul 25, 2014

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water and is left to dry, b ...

How do we terraform Venus?

Jul 25, 2014

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

User comments : 0