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PatPL, August 15, 2015 in Science & Spaceflight
Holy smoke, Batman!
What the heck is that effect of pale blue bands moving up the sides? Seems to be frost forming and sublimating, which I get, but why in pulses like that?
It's camera artifact caused by vibration. You can also see it on the I beam on the right side.
Why do they need to test RS-25s anyway? Haven't they been flown on the Shuttle for 35 years?
There have been a number of modifications to the engine since they were last flown. New hardware for the controller (from the J2X program) and some other elements. Also, SLS feeds the fuel to the engines faster and at higher pressures (partially due to the height of the core tank) than the RS-25 experienced during it's Space Shuttle years. Additional modifications include removing some of the elements that facilitated reuse and testing the new insulation on the engines designed to protect them in the 4-clustered configuration with 2 burning SRBs on either side.
The controller is new, the fuel inlet pressure is 50% higher higher due to the core tank being taller than the shuttle ET, and peak G being higher. The fuel is cooler when it reaches the engines due to the path from the tank to the engines being more efficient than on the shuttle. They actually had to install heaters to heat up the fuel before letting it into the engines. The thrust will be higher (potentially up to 111%), and all the changes that come with that. It also wouldn't surprise me if the thrust profile was different.
Anyway, the RS25 has been tested several times this year, but I there seemed to be a lot more attention given to this particular test. Is there something special about this particular test?
Also the thermal environment is different and they applied some new ablative insulation to the nozzles.
Well, that, and who doesn't love a,good,test firing? . Humor aside, as you have said, they have modified the design over time. Also, considering that these will be carrying humans back into space, and the fact that NASA has never reused an engine type between two vehicles, there are a lot of unknowns. For example, i would think that in order to,,certify the vehicle, i would think that it would have to,be able to,get through thefirst stage of flight under control,while one engine has failed.
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