Aerojet Rocketdyne with NASA Administrator James “Jim” Bridenstine marked a significant milestone to reduce the cost on the RS-25 engine. This engine powers the new rocket of NASA, the launch system of space at the space center of NASA’s stennins. The event was a very popular test on RS-25 improvement engine where its major combustion chamber (MCC) this is the heart of the engine, was fabricated by using the latest hot isostatic pressing (HIP). This innovative manufacturing process saves money and time significantly in traditional methods. The test data indicates the chamber performed effortlessly during the 319-second test that represents the SLS flight profile.
Each SLS is powered with RS-25 engines. It has 16 engines in its discovery that remains from the space shuttle and this is enough for four flights. New flight controllers are being created for these engines and current improvement engine tested. Another flight controller has to certify for integration with a flight engine. Engines introduced for flights that will cooperate add-on manufacturing updates to minimize costs for some parts of the engine.
A critical component called pogo dampens the potential engine propellant pressure oscillations. This can cause a rocket that unstable in flight. The 3D printed pogo size is like a beach ball and it continues to perform during the test series and promising for further RS-25 cost savings through additional manufacturing nearer to reality. MCC is HIP-bonded and the latest component under the new engine contract to get into the fire testing. The HIP-bonding process employs high pressure and heat to bring bonds between details of the engine that can withstand efficiently high-stress applications. In the case of RS-25MCC, the smoke of the engine and fire initiates. This means this withstanding the temperature combustion of 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit and pressure over 3,000 psi.
Drake said that the HIP-bonded MCC is the largest cost-effective improvement being included into the new RS-25 engines. It reduced half of the cost and fabrication cycle time compared to the space shuttle major engines. HIP bonding is a powerful and predictable system that greatly minimizes process variation.
HIP- bonded chambers are flying on Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RS-68A engines today and the powerful engine for United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV satellite-launching workhorse. The system was successfully approved during J-2X upper stage and the X-33 Linear Aerospike engine development programs.
Drake said that they were honored to have Administrator Bridenstine witness an RS-25 engine and see first-hand the affordability initiatives they are undertaking with this engine and program.