NASA has achieved a major milestone in its journey towards launching a lunar mission. The agency has completed the rocket engine test series. It said that the rocket engine test series was successful. NASA will be launching a crewed mission to the Moon and then to Mars. According to a statement by the US space agency, the RS-25 single-engine Retrofit-2 test series was conducted on September 30. This takes the agency one ahead to develop engines for the Artemis program. NASA expects that the testing of engine parts is crucial in meeting the accuracy. It will help in advancing manufacturing techniques. This will lead to a reduction in the cost of the engine by around 30 percent. Besides, this will provide greater reliability and enhance the overall performance.
NASA said that operators fired the engine during the test for more than eight minutes. This is the same time that is required during the launch. It said that the test series provides valuable data related to the rocket. The information is used to make changes in engines needed for attaining greater results. The agency said that operators collected hot fire data and verified the capabilities of the engine. They also evaluated components to gauge the operational risk. The rocket engine test series was delayed by the agency due to Hurricane Ida in the last week of August.
The US space agency is planning to return humans to the Moon after five decades. It is building SLS which is touted to be the most powerful rocket in the world. It has four RS-25 engines. Besides, it carries boosters. The boosters provide thrust to the SLS at launch. When the four engines are fired together, they generate 1.6 million pounds of thrust at the launch. The agency wants to land the first woman and the next man on Moon by 2024. They will spend around 7 seven days on Moon, performing scientific experiments to prepare for future human missions to Mars.