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: Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

Related Stories

Automated fingerprint analysis is one step closer to reality

August 14, 2017

The first big case involving fingerprint evidence in the United States was the murder trial of Thomas Jennings in Chicago in 1911. Jennings had broken into a home in the middle of the night and, when discovered by the homeowner, ...

Smart mat detects early warning signs of foot ulcers

August 16, 2017

While completing his residency in anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in the mid-2000s, Jon Bloom saw his fair share of foot amputations among patients with diabetes. The culprit: infected foot ulcers.

NASA's Webb Telescope summertime deep-freeze continues

August 9, 2017

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope began a nearly 100-day cryogenic test in a giant chamber in Texas in mid-July. Components of the Webb have previously endured similar tests to ensure they would function in the cold environment ...

Recommended for you

Evidence found of white dwarf remnant after supernova

August 18, 2017

An international team of space scientists has found evidence of what they believe is a remnant of a type Iax supernova—a white dwarf moving in a way that suggests it was blown across part of the universe by the power of ...

Scientists improve brown dwarf weather forecasts

August 18, 2017

Dim objects called brown dwarfs, less massive than the sun but more massive than Jupiter, have powerful winds and clouds–specifically, hot patchy clouds made of iron droplets and silicate dust. Scientists recently realized ...

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.