NASA is yet to release any information as to why the latest RS-25 test in December aborted just seconds into what was set to be a full duration firing. The lack of information partly relates to NASA employees being out of work during the current government shutdown, which has also impacted on the test schedule. However, prime contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne notes they can accommodate a “temporary” delay.
The RS-25 will be the main engine on NASA’s next flagship rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), which is using tried and tested heritage hardware from the Space Shuttle era.
The engine involved with the latest test was the Development Engine 0525 (E0525).
This engine is being used on the latest set of firing to help validate engine components – built by prime contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne – using modern, updated manufacturing techniques aimed at reducing the cost to build new “production restart” engines for delivery in the early 2020s. As such, this test series is not wholly critical to the opening launches of SLS, albeit pending the reason and potential impacts relating to the test abort.
Numerous RS-25 hot fires have taken place on the A-1 test stand at Stennis.
Testing from 2015 ...