NASA Concludes 2011 Testing of J-2X Engine

NASA conducted its final J-2X rocket engine test of the year Dec. 14, the 10th firing in a series of tests on the new upper-stage engine that will carry humans farther into space than ever before.

The J-2X engine was test fired on the A-2 Test Stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center, in south Mississippi. The test was performed at the 100 percent power level. The main focus of this test was to characterize engine performance calibration and the effects of fuel inlet pressure variations. The results of this test are being analyzed.

The engine -- No. 10001 -- now will be removed from the test stand to allow for addition of a nozzle extension and associated test facility modifications needed for additional engine tests in 2012. The engine will be returned to the stand early in 2012 to resume the test series. These tests will characterize the J-2X engine with nozzle extension as needed for the Space Launch System. In addition, J-2X Powerpack testing in 2012 at the Stennis A-1 test facility will characterize the required range of fuel and oxidizer turbopump operating conditions. Meanwhile, three other J-2X engines, 10002 through 10004, are being manufactured for hot fire testing at Stennis planned through 2014.

The J-2X engine is being developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. It will provide upper-stage power for NASA's new Space Launch System. The SLS will carry the Orion spacecraft, its crew, cargo, equipment and science experiments to space -- providing a safe, affordable and sustainable means of reaching the moon, asteroids and other destinations in the solar system.

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