The RS-25 engine that will power NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), off the launch pad and on journeys to an asteroid and Mars is getting ready for the test stand. And it is packing a big punch.
Engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., are now focusing their attention on preparing the RS-25 engine after completing testing of the J-2X engine April 10. Four RS-25 engines, previously known as space shuttle main engines, will muscle the core stage of SLS for each of its missions. Towering more than 200 feet tall with a diameter of 27.6 feet, the core stage will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the vehicle’s RS-25s.
Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of six glided onto Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center after spending nine days in space on the STS-72 mission, the first shuttle flight of 1996.
During the mission, the crew retrieved the Japanese Space Flyer Unit (SFU), the deployed and participated in two spacewalks.
STS-126, Endeavour’s next mission, is slated to launch on Nov. 14, 2008.
Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven’t seen any of them — yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped “starshade” that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the “coolest possible science.”
Von Braun’s capsule would be contained in a sealed cylinder which in turn would be carried in a horizontal position in the rocket’s nose cone. In the case of an emergency during launch, the cylinder could be ejected into a nearby pool of water. The nose cone also contained the recovery parachutes and life support equipment.
This assembly would be placed atop an Army Redstone missile, which would act as the booster. By using almost entirely off-the-shelf equipment, von Braun believed the flight could be made before the end of 1959 at a cost of less than $12 million.