Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have successfully completed base heating testing on 2-percent scale models of the Space Launch System (SLS) propulsion system. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid placed in lunar orbit and ultimately to Mars.
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC
The SLS propulsion system uses two five-segment solid rocket boosters and four core stage RS-25 engines that burn liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Sixty-five hot-fire tests using the mini models provided data on the convective heating environments that the base of the rocket will experience during ascent. Engineers have many months ahead analyzing that data, which will be used to verify flight hardware design environments and set specifications for the design of the rocket's base thermal protection system. The thermal protection system at the base of the vehicle keeps major hardware, wiring and the crew safe from the extreme heat the boosters and engines create while burning on ascent.
Base Heating Testing
video The models were designed, built and tested by Marshall engineers, in close collaboration with CUBRC Inc. of Buffalo, New York.