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NASA Tests SLS Engine, Could Take Astronauts To Mars

During a 535-second test on July 17, 2015, operators ran the RS-25 through a series of power levels, including a period of firing at 109 percent of the engine’s rated power. Photo: NASA

NASA’s testing out an engine that could one day carry astronauts to Mars.

The RS-25 engine is one of four that will power NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) that will carry the Orion capsule to deep space destinations like Mars.

It’s a modified Space Shuttle engine and when all four engines fire, they’ll generate 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

The nearly 9-minute test fire will simulate the heat and pressure stresses the engine will face during liftoff.

They’ll also test a new control system in the engine – which will regulate fuel and thrust during firing.

The test is being conducted at the A-1 test stand at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The facility was used to test Apollo and Shuttle engines.


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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »