NASA Successfully Completes First Series of Ares Engine Tests

May 9, 2008

NASA engineers Thursday successfully completed the first series of tests in the early development of the J-2X engine that will power the upper stages of the Ares I and Ares V rockets, key components of NASA's Constellation Program. Ares I will launch the Orion spacecraft that will take astronauts to the International Space Station and then to the moon by 2020. The Ares V will carry cargo and components into orbit for trips to the moon and later to Mars.

NASA conducted nine tests of heritage J-2 engine components from December to May as part of a series designed to verify heritage J-2 performance data and explore performance boundaries. Engineers at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., conducted the tests on a heritage J-2 "powerpack," which, in a fully assembled engine, pumps liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the engine's main combustion chamber to produce thrust. The test hardware consisted of J-2 components used from the Apollo program in the1960s through the X-33 program of the 1990s.

"This series of tests is an important step in development of the J-2X engine," said Mike Kynard, manager of the upper stage engine for the Ares Projects at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "We started with a number of objectives and questions we needed answers to as we work to complete designs of the J-2X engine. The data we have gained will be invaluable as we continue the design process."

Data obtained from the tests will be used to refine the design of the J-2X pumps and other engine components to provide the additional performance required of this new engine. The J-2X engine is being designed to produce 294,000 pounds of thrust; the original J-2 produced 230,000 pounds of thrust.

The main objectives of the series were to resolve differences in heritage turbopump performance data and recent component-level tests, and investigate vibration and pressure drops through the turbopump inlet ducts. Tests in the series ran for durations up to 400 seconds and at power levels up to 274,000 pounds of thrust.

After the data from the test series has been reviewed and objectives met, Stennis will begin readying the test stand for the next series of tests, said Gary Benton, the J-2X project manager at Stennis.

Marshall manages the J-2X upper stage engine for the Constellation Program, based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Under a contract awarded in July 2007, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne Inc., of Canoga Park, Calif., will design, develop, test and evaluate the engine.

Source: NASA

Explore further: T-Mobile moves the needle in its research lab to compete with larger rivals

Related Stories

When deep learning mistakes a coffee maker for a cobra

March 22, 2017

Is this your sister?" That's the kind of question asked by image-recognition systems, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in our everyday devices. They may soon be used for tumor detection and genomics, too. These systems ...

Recommended for you

Astronomers identify purest, most massive brown dwarf

March 24, 2017

An international team of astronomers has identified a record breaking brown dwarf (a star too small for nuclear fusion) with the 'purest' composition and the highest mass yet known. The object, known as SDSS J0104+1535, is ...

Spacewalk a success for French, US astronauts

March 24, 2017

A French and an American astronaut floated outside the International Space Station Friday on a successful spacewalk to upgrade the orbiting outpost for the arrival of future space crews.

OSIRIS-REx asteroid search tests instruments, science team

March 24, 2017

During an almost two-week search, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission team activated the spacecraft's MapCam imager and scanned part of the surrounding space for elusive Earth-Trojan asteroids—objects that scientists believe may ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.