Four Down, Four to Go: Artemis I Rocket Moves Closer to Hot Fire Test

The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is completing the Green Run test for the rocket’s core stage, shown installed on the top left side of the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. (Credits: NASA/Stennis)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage for the Artemis I lunar mission has successfully completed its first four Green Run tests and is building on those tests for the next phase of checkout as engineers require more capability of the hardware before hot-firing the stage and its four powerful engines.


Blue Origin to Test Rocket Engine at NASA Stennis

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver visited Blue Origin in Kent, Wash., today, where she announced the company has delivered its BE-3 engine thrust chamber assembly — the engine’s combustion chamber and nozzle — to NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, where testing will begin in April 2012.

Blue Origin is developing a reusable launch vehicle, designed to take off and land vertically, and an escape system for its crewed spacecraft. Testing will take place on the center’s E-1 Test Stand.


Mississippi, Louisiana Ride Out Post-Shuttle Storm With Government, Private Spending has a long story about how Mississippi and Louisiana are riding out the post-shuttle economic downturn with a combination of NASA, defense and private aerospace projects. The keystone is NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System and the Orion crew vehicle, which will give NASA’s Michoud and Stennis centers plenty of work to do.

Stennis Space Center Director Patrick Scheuermann said the decision on Space Launch System “will secure this place and our prime mission for the next 30 to 40 years,” according to comments to the press.


Taurus II Engine Shuts Down Prematurely During Test Firing

Aerojet's AJ26 engine test. (PRNewsFoto/Aerojet)

NASA PR — An Aerojet AJ26 flight engine for Orbital Sciences Corporations’ Taurus II space launch vehicle experienced a premature shutdown during a test firing on June 9. The test was conducted on the E-1 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Orbital and Aerojet are investigating the cause of the early shutdown. Stennis will perform checkouts to the facility to ensure its operational integrity.

“This is the reason we test engines here at Stennis before they are installed on launch vehicles,” said David Liberto, AJ26 engine project manager at Stennis. “Engine testing is a vital component of ensuring missions are successfully launched.”

The AJ26 engine test supports Orbital’s development activities to provide commercial cargo resupply flights to the International Space Station in 2012. The company is scheduled to demonstrate its Taurus II rocket and its Cygnus cargo transportation system in a mission later this year under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) research and development initiative.

Bolden to View Acceptance Test of Taurus II Rocket Engine at Stennis

Aerojet's AJ26 engine successfully tested for Taurus II space launch vehicle. (PRNewsFoto/Aerojet)


Members of the news media are invited to visit NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center on Monday, Feb. 7, to view a flight acceptance test of Aerojet’s AJ26 rocket engine for the Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Taurus II space launch vehicle.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and executives from Orbital and Aerojet will be at Stennis to witness the test, which is targeted for 4 p.m. CST. Following the test, reporters will have an opportunity to ask questions of Bolden and the Orbital and Aerojet executives.


Taurus II Engine Tests Coming Along Nicely

Aerojet's AJ26 engine successfully tested for Taurus II space launch vehicle. (PRNewsFoto/Aerojet)


You see a lot of smiles around the E-1 Test Stand at John C. Stennis Space Center these days. Engineers involved in testing Aerojet’s AJ26 rocket engine for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Taurus II space launch vehicle have good reason to smile.


Another Successful Test Fire for Taurus II’s AJ26 Engine


NASA conducted a test fire Friday of the liquid-fuel AJ26 engine that will power the first stage of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Taurus II space launch vehicle. The test at the agency’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi supports NASA’s Commercial Transportation Services partnerships to enable commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station.

Orbital’s Taurus II uses a pair AJ26 rocket engines built by Aerojet to provide first stage propulsion. Friday’s test on the Stennis’ E-1 test stand involved a team of Orbital, Aerojet, and Stennis engineers, with Stennis employees serving as test conductors.


Stennis Transition to Commercial Era Already Well Underway

Stennis officials: Commercial partners keep workforce active
WLOX-13 News

The new rocket test stand under construction at Stennis is supposed to test NASA’s new J2X engine. Changes in NASA’s mission could change that plan, and Stennis officials say that’s okay.

“If that’s not the engine selected, we can test other engines,” Engineer Lionel Dutreix said. “We can also partner with commercial industry.”


NASA’S Stennis Space Center To Test Rocket Engine For Taurus II


NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center will provide propulsion system acceptance testing for the Taurus II space launch vehicle, which Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., is developing.

The first Taurus II mission will be flown in support of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services cargo demonstration to the International Space Station. The demonstration currently is planned for the end of 2010 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va.


IG: NASA Ignored Agreement, Made Unilateral Decision on Stennis Rocket Test Facility

In the latest of a series of critical investigations, NASA’s Office of Inspector General released a report on Wednesday concerning the agency’s decision to build a new rocket test facility for its Ares program at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. An excerpt from the report follows:

“The NRPTA [National Rocket Propulsion Test Alliance], formed by an agreement between NASA and the Department of Defense (DoD), was established to shape the Government’s rocket propulsion testing capability to efficiently meet national test needs through intra- and inter-agency cooperation. The NRPTA reviews testing needs and recommends solutions that provide the best overall value to the taxpayer. NASA’s Rocket Propulsion Test Management Board (RPTMB) serves as the NASA decision-making body for rocket propulsion testing.

“We found that NASA’s Upper Stage Engine (USE) Element Manager, located at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, reviewed the J-2X rocket propulsion testing options and selected the A-3 test stand to be built at Stennis without the required formal reviews or recommendations of the NRPTA, or NASA’s RPTMB. This occurred because NASA did not appropriately engage the NRPTA as required by the NRPTA Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The NRPTA MOA and the RPTMB Operating Procedures require member reviews and recommendations prior to major test facility investments or modifications. In addition, we found that the processes contained in the the NRPTA MOA and the RPTMB Operating Procedures are not included in either a NASA Policy Directive or NASA Procedural Requirements.

“Although the Rocket Propulsion Test (RPT) Program office used the NRPTA to gather information on potential J-2X testing options, NASA did not make a request for NRPTA member reviews and recommendations and subsequently made a unilateral decision to build the A-3 test stand at Stennis. The USE Element Manager stated that he selected the A-3 without, or prior to, receiving any recommendations from the RPTMB or NRPTA because the selection needed to be made in March 2007 to maintain the critical path of the Ares Project. We confirmed that the test facility was on the Ares Project’s critical path. However, we found that the schedules projected for the A-3 and upgrading AEDC’s J-4 facility, which presented a competing option, were the same, 3½ years. Although the critical path of the Ares Project may explain the timing of the decision, it does not adequately justify the decision to build the A-3 exclusive of cost and technical risk comparisons with other facilities as would have been provided if the appropriate request was made of the NRPTA.”