NASA has just tested its next-generation super-engine known as the “Ferrari of rocket engines” that promises to take humans to Mars.
NASA aims for the rockets to one day take the Orion spacecraft to Mars.
The RS-25 engine was test fired at the Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi for nine minutes while NASA engineers collected performance data. The engine can handle temperatures as low as -240C and as high as 3,315C and consumes a pool-sized amount of fuel every minute.
RT report: It was the sixth out of seven tests for the main engine to power the SLS rocket. Four of the engines, together with two boosters, will be used to launch the dream mission to space.
“It is the most complicated rocket engine out there on the market, but that’s because it’s the Ferrari of rocket engines,” Kathryn Crowe, the propulsion engineer on the engine, told CNET.
“When you’re looking at designing a rocket engine, there are several different ways you can optimize it. You can optimize it through increasing its thrust, increasing the weight-to-thrust ratio, or increasing its overall efficiency and how it consumes your propellant. With this engine, they maximized all three.”
The space run looked spectacular, with more smoke than a 1980s heavy metal rock show.
The engine burned for more than 500 seconds, wowing onlookers as they stood gazing at the marvel from a safe distance.
Although everything went as planned, NASA will need to run more tests on other engine parts and see how they all work in concert, before sitting down again and adjusting for what it hopes will be even more impressive results.