[meteorite-list] Beating Heart of J-2x Engine Finishes Year of Successful NASA Tests

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2012 01:02:31 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201212150902.qBF92Vfx012466_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

Dec. 14, 2012

Rachel Kraft
NASA Headquarters, Washington
rachel.h.kraft at nasa.gov

Kim Henry
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
kimberly.h.henry at nasa.gov

Rebecca Strecker
Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Miss.
rebecca.a.strecker at nasa.gov

RELEASE: 12-436


WASHINGTON -- NASA on Thursday took another step toward human
exploration of new destinations in the solar system. At the agency's
Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, engineers conducted the final
test-firing of the J-2X powerpack assembly, an important component of
America's next heavy-lift rocket.

The J-2X engine is the first human-rated liquid oxygen and liquid
hydrogen engine developed in the United States in decades. Designed
and built by NASA and industry partner Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of
Canoga Park, Calif., the engine will power the upper stage of NASA's
143-ton (130-metric-ton) Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The
powerpack is a system of components on top of the engine that feeds
propellants to the bell nozzle of the engine to produce thrust.

"The determination and focus by teams at NASA's Marshall Space Flight
Center and Stennis on designing and perfecting the J-2X engine helps
show the great strides of progress made on the overall program," said
SLS Program Manager Todd May. "We are inspired to stay the course and
pursue our goal of exploring deep space and traveling farther than
ever before."

The powerpack was worked out separately from the engine to more
thoroughly test its limits. It also can be operated under a wider
range of conditions. The tests provide a trove of data to compare
with analytical predictions of the performance of several parts in
the turbopump and flexible ducts.

"These tests at Stennis are similar to doctor-ordered treadmill tests
for a person's heart," said Tom Byrd, J-2X engine lead in the SLS
Liquid Engines Office at Marshall in Huntsville, Ala. "The engineers
who designed and analyze the turbopumps inside the powerpack are like
our doctors, using sensors installed in the assembly to monitor the
run over a wide range of stressful conditions. We ran the assembly
tests this year for far longer than the engine will run during a
mission to space, and acquired a lot of valuable information that
will help us improve the development of the J-2X engine."

The powerpack assembly burned millions of pounds of propellants during
a series of 13 tests totaling more than an hour and a half in 2012.
The testing team set several records for hot-firing duration at
Stennis test stands during the summer. NASA engineers will remove the
assembly from the test stand to focus on tests of the fully
integrated engine. Installation on a test stand at Stennis will begin
in 2013.

The SLS will launch NASA's Orion spacecraft and other payloads from
the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, providing an entirely
new capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The
program is managed at Marshall.

For more information about the J-2X engine and NASA's Space Launch
System, including links to video and images of Thursday's test,

Received on Sat 15 Dec 2012 04:02:31 AM PST

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