Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), test-fired their RS-25 engine, E2063, for 500 seconds at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on October 19 — this is the second RS-25 engine Aerojet Rocketdyne has tested for NASA’s second Exploration Mission (EM-2).
EM-2 will be the first mission to launch astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft with the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) on top of the Space Launch System (SLS). Each SLS rocket is powered by four RS-25 engines located at the bottom of the core stage along with two solid rocket motors. The RS-25 engines fire nonstop for 8.5 minutes and provide more than two million pounds of thrust. Aerojet Rocketdyne assembled engine E2063 in 2015, making it the newest of the 16 flight engines Aerojet Rocketdyne has in inventory at its facility located at Stennis Space Center.
For EM-2, Aerojet Rocketdyne is also under contract to provide four RL10 engines for the EUS, propulsion elements for the Orion spacecraft and building and testing a high-powered electric propulsion system that could be used for a future 50-kilowatt power and propulsion element.
Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake stated that this is an exciting time in human spaceflight as we move beyond Low Earth Orbit and into deep space. SLS and Orion play critical roles in establishing NASA’s proposed deep space gateway and returning humans to the vicinity of the Moon. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s broad range of chemical and electric propulsion solutions will help NASA expand the frontier of human exploration
RS-25 Program Director Dan Adamski added that earlier this month the company completed work on all four engines required for Exploration Mission-1 and the firm is now well on the way to getting the four engines needed for EM-2 ready to go.