Military Embedded Systems

SLS RS-25 rocket engine undergoes critical test


March 28, 2017

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

RS-25 rocket engine with new controllers and hardware undergoing testing at Stennis Space Center. Photo credit: NASA.

NASA-STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. The powerful RS-25 engine that will be used on NASA?s new super-heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) underwent a critical test recently at NASA?s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; the test included the first trial of the new flight-model engine controller and flight-configuration software. Four RS-25 engines, manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne, are set to help propel the SLS rocket into deep space and beyond.

The controller is sometimes referred to as the "brain" of the engine because it translates the vehicle's commands into engine action while monitoring the health of the engine. The controller is able to make adjustments in real time by tracking critical operating conditions such as the speed of the turbopumps, combustion pressures and temperatures, thrust, and propellant ratios.

The new controller for the RS-25 engine is a significant upgrade from the one that was used when the RS-25 flew on the space shuttle; the new controller has 20 times the processing capability of the one used during the shuttle era and offers increased reliability while reducing weight by 50 pounds on each engine.




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