Aerojet Rocketdyne Flight Controller Goes Three for Three in Testing

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Aerojet Rocketdyne tests the third RS-25 flight controller on a developmental engine at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Photo: Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully tested its third RS-25 engine flight controller this week at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The RS-25 engine will propel the United States’ next-generation heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), into space. The flight controller is slated to fly on the inaugural mission of the SLS, which will propel the Orion capsule around the Moon and safely return it back to Earth.

The flight controller translates the vehicle’s commands into action while monitoring the health of the engine by making real-time adjustments to the speed of the turbopumps, combustion pressures, as well as the engine’s thrust and propellant mixture ratios. This most recent test focused on the engine thrust and mixture ratio precision operation, according to Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Four RS-25 engines power the core stage of the SLS for 8 and a half minutes to help the SLS during its climb to space; combined, the engines provide the rocket with more than 2 million pounds of thrust. Once completed, NASA believes the SLS rocket will provide an unmatched capability to launch the heaviest and largest payloads faster to any destination when compared with other existing or proposed launch vehicles in development, making it the ideal rocket to explore deep space.

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