Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NASA Engine Test-Firing On Tap Today

A new rocket engine destined to propel U.S. astronauts on missions beyond Earth orbit will undergo its first full-duration test-firing today in Mississippi.

A derivative of the second stage engine that powered the Saturn V moon rocket, NASA's J2-X engine will provide upper-stage propulsion for the Space Launch System, a heavy-lift rocket being built for future human expeditions to asteroids, the moon, Mars or the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.

The Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne engine is scheduled to be fired for 500 seconds at 4 p.m. today at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss.

You can watch the test-firing live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right to launch our NASA TV viewer and live coverage. A NASA news conference is scheduled after the test.

NASA's J2-X is the first human-rated rocket engine the agency has developed since the 1970s. It originally was intended to power the second stages of the Ares I and Ares V rockets being developed as part of the agency's cancelled Project Constellation, a program that aimed to return U.S. astronauts to the moon by 2020.

The Obama Administration cancelled Constellation and initiated a project that directed NASA to invest in the development of commercial space taxis that could ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station and other destinations in low Earth orbit.

The development of the J2-X and NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle survived the cancellation and are continuing as the agency focuses on preparing for human expeditions beyond Earth orbit.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the NASA image of a J2-X engine undergoing a 1.9-second ignition test this summer at Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Photo credit: NASA/Stennis Space Center.


steele-environmental said...

Go J2-X!

So how does the new J2-X compare to the older J2s used on the Saturn V?

Also, not to rain on this parade, but what took them so long?

eromni said...

It is great that there is still optimism that they will develop a new launch system at NASA. Unfortunately their record and fading budget does not support this position. To save themselves they need an exciting manned space goal in the near term 8-10 years. Everyone is sick of being stuck in Low Earth Orbit for the last three and a half decades. The future lies in competing affordable launch technologies. For the access to Low Earth Orbit at 1/10 the cost check... This impressive explosion, large flash and meteoric egress creates a testosterone elevation effect that resonates with most space enthusiasts.
Check the news story 1:43 minute length. It shows the gas launcher shooting scram jets at Mach 9. The nanosecond camera footage gives you a glimpse of the projectile before it hits the sand pit and evaporates. This system will complete Phase 1 in 2012.

charioteer said...

Doesn't it appear that all of NASA's posts are so glamorous and seeming well-intentioned? Think again. They have an agenda to militarize space with their warmongering technology, at the expense of our atmospheric envelope and all life that depends upon our 'ocean of air'.

At NASA's environmental cleanup page,, it says, "We take full responsibility for any problems caused by past practices and ensuring the protection of the environment and the health of the surrounding community."

That's all well and good, now what about the ongoing SOLID ROCKET FUEL program? Is this present technology ensuring the protection of the environment?

Here is the censored TRUTH of how NASA really salutes its veterans:

Float to space instead of rocketing there, and accomplish everything at 25 miles altitude that was being done, 14X further, at 250 miles out.

Also, documentation of how Nazi turned into NASA, and still continues to wage war upon our environment: