NEW YORK: NASA has just finished preliminary tests on a strong new rocket engine that they have designed to travel to Mars.
The RS-25 rocket engines were tested at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on Thursday.
This marks the six of seven test that the American space agency said they planned to conduct in order to determine how dependable the engine will be.
Up close, the RS-25 engine has the capability of producing 12 million horsepower the equivalent of 512,000 pounds of thrust.
The mains shaft of this rocket, then, has the ability to rotate more than ten times faster than a car travelling at 60 miles per hour.
That is supposed to be a reference that helps regular people understand the speed and power of the rocket but ten times faster than a car on the highway is still probably not something we can fully understand.
Additionally, though, the rocket’s power can handle huge strain and pressure without encountering any complications.
RS-25 propulsion engineer Kathryn Crowe comments that “It is the most complicated rocket engine out there on the market, but that’s because it’s the Ferrari of rocket engines.”
The test of the RS-25 engine lasted nine minutes; this is equivalent of the amount of time the engines will fire when launching in real life at the Space Launch System mega-rocket (which will be powered by four of these RS-25 rockets).
With these tests complete, the RS-25 engine is expected to be used for the very first time to assist in the launch of the Orion capsule, which is slated for mission in 2018.
This will be an unmanned expedition sent to travel around the moon. After this, the rockets are expected to be used for human missions to Mars after 2030.