May 08, 2007
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
NEWS RELEASE: 07-053
NASA SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES ENGINE HARDWARE TESTS FOR ARES V
HUNTSVILLE - NASA engineers have successfully completed testing of
subscale main injector hardware, an early step in development of the
RS-68 engine that will power the core stage of NASA’s Ares V - the cargo
launch vehicle that will deliver large-scale hardware and systems to
space for exploration missions to the moon.
Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.,
recently conducted multiple hot-fire tests on the injector hardware. The
injector is a major component of the engine that injects and mixes
liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants in the combustion chamber,
where they are ignited and burned to produce thrust.
The tests support the design and development of Ares V under the
Constellation Program, which is responsible for overall development of
the spacecraft and launch vehicles systems for NASA’s exploration
initiative to return to the moon and travel to Mars and destinations
throughout our solar system.
The tests, begun in February, were part of a series investigating
different injector element designs for propellant flow. During testing,
engineers fired the injectors for durations of 10 to 20 seconds.
The hot-fire tests of the hardware and number of injector elements are
part of efforts to investigate design options and maximize performance
of the RS-68 engine. A cluster of five RS-68 engines will power the core
stage of the Ares V. The engine will be an upgraded version of those now
used in the Delta IV, the largest of the Delta rocket family developed
in the 1990s by the U.S. Air Force for its Evolved Expendable Launch
Data from the tests also will be used to develop the J-2X engine systems
for the upper stages of Ares V and for Ares I, the crew launch vehicle
that will carry the Orion spacecraft and its crew of astronauts to Earth
The injector hardware for the RS-68 and J-2X engines share design
features similar to the subscale hardware, such as the type of elements
and density patterns. This hardware commonality makes operations more
cost effective for both the crew and cargo vehicles.
The test series was conducted by a joint Marshall Center team including
members of the Exploration Launch Projects Office, Engineering
Directorate and Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate.
The Ares V launch vehicle project includes teams at NASA and
organizations around the nation. The Exploration Launch Projects Office
at Marshall is responsible for the design and development of the Ares
launch vehicles. The project reports to the Constellation Program
Office, hosted by NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Pratt &
Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif., is the prime contractor for
the RS-68 core stage engines.
For more information about NASA’s Ares projects, visit:
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