NASA is set to begin a new round of tests for development of RS-25 engines that will help power the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on future missions to the Moon and, eventually, Mars. The first test of the new series is set for today on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis. The test will be streamed live on NASA TV.
Resumption of RS-25 single-engine testing on the A-1 Test Stand follows completion of major maintenance work on the facility originally built for Apollo Program testing more than 50 years ago. The engine will be fired seven times for a total of 3,650 seconds during the first half of 2021. The schedule calls for six full-duration tests of about eight and a half minutes and one hot fire of just under 11 minutes. A full duration test refers to the time the engine must fire during an actual launch in order to power SLS towards orbit. Longer duration hot fires are conducted to test the limits of engine performance.