A new series of tests on the engine that will help carry humans to deep space will begin next week at NASA's Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi. The tests on the J-2X engine bring NASA one step closer to the first human-rated liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen rocket engine to be developed in 40 years.
Tests will focus on the powerpack for the J-2X. This highly efficient and versatile advanced rocket engine is being designed to power the upper stage of NASA's Space Launch System, a new heavy-lift launch vehicle capable of missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The powerpack comprises components on the top portion of the engine, including the gas generator, oxygen and fuel turbopumps, and related ducts and valves that bring the propellants together to create combustion and generate thrust.
"The J-2X upper stage engine is vital to achieving the full launch capability of the heavy-lift Space Launch System," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. "The testing today will help insure that a key propulsion element is ready to support exploration across the solar system."