Mar 2, 2018 | By Benedict

NASA has tested its Space Launch System (SLS) engines up to 113 percent thrust level, the highest RS-25 power level achieved to date. The hot fire featured a test of an RS-25 flight controller, as well as a 3D printed engine component.

It has only been a short time since we last heard about NASA test firing its partially 3D printed RS-25 rocket engine, but the announcements just keep coming. As of last week, the space agency has now tested the RS-25 at 113 percent thrust level, the highest power achieved to date.

The RS-25, otherwise known as the Space Shuttle main engine (SSME), is no spring chicken, having been used in various incarnations since 1981. Its newest version, however, is packed with exciting new technologies, including a metal 3D printed component.

NASA says that testing of this 3D printed component is part of an ongoing effort to use advanced manufacturing techniques and processes as a way to cut back engine construction costs, making the Space Launch System more affordable.

NASA and RS-25 engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne now plans to test a number of further 3D printed components for the RS-25 engine. The recent hot fire test, which lasted 260 seconds in total, provided a key maximum flow level test of the current 3D printed part.

“Each RS-25 test moves the agency closer and closer to its return to deep space exploration, to such destinations as the moon and Mars,” NASA said. “The Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) flight will test the new rocket and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft into space beyond the moon. Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2) will be the first flight to carry humans aboard the Orion spacecraft, returning astronauts to deep space for the first time in more than 40 years.”

NASA will soon test the actual SLS core stage for the EM-1 mission at the Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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