NASA to Test Its Space Launch System Mega Engine
In case anyone missed it, NASA is building the world's most powerful rocket. The NASA Space Launch System (SLS) is being developed to bring humans to Mars. In line with that, the agency will test the innovative and monstrous engine that will fly the rocket beyond the low-Earth orbit.
The said engine is an RL10 type, a rocket engine technology that has been around since the 50s. Reports say that the achievements of this type of rocket engine are unprecedented since the RL10 rockets have the reputation of visiting all the planets in the Solar System.
This may be the reason behind NASA's preference to this type of mega engine equipped with the power and technology required to reach beyond the comforts of near-Earth objects and the low-Earth orbit.
The RL10 is also set to make historic trips to places mankind have never been before thus making it a beacon of deep space exploration for NASA. Each part of the SLS rocket is carefully being designed and developed but the engine is considered to be one of the most vital in the system. This is what will propel the spacecraft to deeper depths in the Solar System.
The RL10 will be employed by the Space Launch System (SLS) to send the Orion spacecraft to space in 2018. This might also be the carrier of humans that are bound for another lunar mission.
Because of the number of NASA's deep space explorations, Aerojet Rocketdyne is set to produce a number of RL10C-3 engines for the agency including the most anticipated Journey to Mars. Aerojet Rocketdyne's contract with NASA is said to amount to a total of $174 million, according to Space.com.
The engine's testing will help scientists measure the stability of the hardware to withstand the launch. "The hardware will be pushed, pulled and twisted during testing to ensure each structure can withstand the incredible stresses of launch," a NASA official said in a press release.