The Engines That Will Lift Americans Back to Space

Four RS-25 engines are undergoing the first stage of testing to fuel the Space Launch System

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Four RS-25 engines, like the one pictured undergoing a hot-fire test, will power the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), NASA's new heavy-lift launch vehicle. Formerly known as the space shuttle main engine, the RS-25 will be tested beginning in 2014 at NASA's Stennis Space Center.

You’ve seen these motors before—135 times before in fact. They’re the liquid-fueled muscle that helped launch all of the space shuttles. Now they’re being repurposed in a new rocket, the planned Space Launch System (SLS). That’s a prosaic name for an ambitious machine that could be the greatest booster the U.S. has built since the days of the legendary Saturn V. Will it fly? NASA’s current stop-start record with manned space projects does not portend great things. Nor does the fact that the launch date for the first manned flight keeps slipping. At the moment the space agency doesn’t plan for a meaningful test of the SLS with an unmanned Orion crew capsule atop until 2017. Still, this picture, which NASA touted on an Instagram post on Saturday, is impressive. The  four engines on the SLS will use propellant at the rate of 1,500 gallons per second, emptying an average-sized swimming pool in one minute. When the rocket flies—if the rocket flies—that will produce a launch spectacle unlike anything we’ve seen since the 1970s.

(NASA)

9 comments
rocketmaster.ken
rocketmaster.ken

What happened to the F-1??

These modern goofy new age 'aerospace' engineers are wrapped around the hydrogen axle.

Get back to the basics lije hydrocarbon. Cheap, storable,good performance,works and has worked to the Moon,

available,etc,etc.

Atlas the only LOx/Kerosene ground start single stage to orbit vehicle.  Don't argue with me, facts are facts.

So lets get crack-in.


rocketmaster.ken
rocketmaster.ken

Once again politicians subverting engineers and scientists making decisions out of their league. Stage one with LH2 is as stupid as SRB's with a human payload. The Shuttle reborn butt continuing with all its flaws no corrections from past mistakes including criminal. Yes some NASA launch controllers should be doing hard time for manslaughter. They had plenty of information to scrub that launch. Anyway, SRB instead of F-1,  kind of like those same politicians getting into you bedroom and doctor's office. Grab on to your angles for more more corn holing,coming to a neighborhood near you.

littleredtop
littleredtop

The sad fact is that the US gave up manned space missions in favor of providing society's non-contributors with Obamaphones.  We no longer lead the world in any scientific pursuit other than the Global Warming scam.  Our education system, filled with phony history and sex education, now ranks down with third world nations and produces little more than criminal rappers and sexually confused drug addicts. 

SwiftrightRight
SwiftrightRight

And yet its still kinda "meh" when compared to the Falcon heavy lift which IS coming on line.

NASA needs to get out of the LEO bus business as just about every one else does it cheaper.

ergodepleted
ergodepleted

The average swimming pool does not hold 90,000 gallons of water.

blitz120
blitz120

How does this compare with the new Japanese Epsilon rocket?

Yoshi
Yoshi

So the upshot is that THIS will be the motor to take the US back into space....... Or not.

demej00
demej00

I thought NASA was getting out of the launch business.

blinet8
blinet8

the largest Saturn V rockets were reported to produce five million horsepower of thrust with a full head of steam....