by Jennifer Stanfield for Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville AL (SPX) Feb 17, 2012
Engineers at NASA's Stennis Space Center conducted an initial test of the J-2X engine powerpack Feb. 15, kicking off a series of key tests in development of the rocket engine that will carry humans deeper into space than ever before.
This test is the first of about a dozen various powerpack tests that will be conducted throughout the year at Stennis. The initial test was designed to ensure powerpack and facility control systems are functioning properly.
It also marked the first step in establishing start sequencing for tests and was the first time cryogenic fuels were introduced into the powerpack to ensure the integrity of the facility and the test article in preparation for full power, longer duration testing.
The powerpack is a system of components on the top portion of the J-2X engine, including the gas generator, oxygen and fuel turbopumps, and related ducts and valves. On the full J-2X engine, the powerpack system feeds the thrust chamber system which produces engine thrust.
The J-2X is being developed by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
It is the first human-rated liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen rocket engine to be developed in 40 years.
The J-2X will provide upper-stage power for NASA's Space Launch System, a new heavy-lift vehicle capable of missions beyond low-Earth orbit.
The new powerpack test series is the second for the J-2X engine. Testing of an Apollo-era powerpack at Stennis in 2008 provided critical data for development of the new, more advanced turbomachinery.
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Europe stakes billion-dollar bet on new rocket
Paris (AFP) Feb 11, 2012
A pencil-slim rocket is scheduled to lift into space from South America on Monday, carrying a billion-dollar bet that Europe can grab a juicy slice of the market to place satellites in low orbit. The maiden flight of Vega culminates a decade-long plan to turn Europe's space base in Kourou, French Guiana, into the world's most versatile launch platform. The launcher 30 metres (100 feet) l ... read more
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