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NASA tests new engine for Alabama managed Moon rocket


Engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi test fired a redesigned engine for the Artemis Moon rocket, managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The retooled RS-25 engine is for future flights of the Space Launch System rocket, also known as the SLS. The booster is for NASA’s Artemis Moon missions. The engine underwent its first hot fire test of the year today at Stennis. The series of testing supports production of new engines by lead SLS engine contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne. The new engines will help power future Artemis missions to the Moon beginning with Artemis V as NASA explores the universe for the benefit of all. Artemis-2 will feature an orbital visit to the Moon like Apollo 8 in 1968. Artemis-3 is scheduled to be the first moon landing by astronauts since Apollo 17 in 1972.

During the latest test, NASA says engineers fired the RS-25 engine for a full duration of about eight and a half minutes. That’s the same amount of thrust needed to put the Artemis rocket and the Orion space capsule in Earth orbit. Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the surface of the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone on the way to Mars.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center tested components for both the Artemis rocket and the Orion crew capsule. The Alabama center also tested engines for the Apollo moon missions and the Space Shuttle. It's also serving as a test bed for commercial launch companies, SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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