July 21st, 2014 15:50 EST
NASA to Catapult Humans Where No Human Has Literally Gone Before
"From the start of the first Apollo Mission of the 1960`s into the fierce competition of space travel between us and other nations in the 1970s, to the challenging technological advances of NASA to become the premier entity of space exploration of the 1980s, to the first class comforts of being an astronaut and riding in the cockpit of any space vehicle or rocket of the 1990`s to the once again technological advancements of catapulting humans to the furthest ends of space of today; the world of space travel and exploration has taken on a new identity of now becoming the challenging face of science." (Anselm, R.)
I can remember when I was five years old or somewhere thereabouts; I was sitting in my best friend`s apartment watching the Apollo mission of 1969 that was bigger news all over the world than the collapse of the economy was. We sat there amazed how NASA could put a man on the moon in a tiny little rocket ship that looked like a Little Tikes mini Smart car and how that Little Tike`s mini Smart car could travel so far from the Earth to the moon carrying an astronaut. That amazing feat accomplished by NASA back then was nothing compared to what NASA is now gearing up to accomplish.
NASA has been performing extensive and massive research on everything from asteroids that have just missed colliding with our plant lately to rouge and mysterious planets that pop in the line of sight from out of nowhere of any one of NASA`s high-powered space telescopes, NASA has been busier over the past few years trying to hit another milestone in the world of space exploration and research.
And just when you think NASA hat hit every milestone there is to connect with and there certainly cannot be any more goals to reach for; NASA once again hits the game winning home run by presenting yet another challenge they have been pursing while we the science buffs have been waiting patiently as if we were football fans waiting patiently for our team, who is sitting on the twenty-five yard line, four seconds to go in the game, behind by two points, and our wishy washy field goal kicker who has missed three chip shot field goals earlier in the game now has a fourth chance to finally connect and win the game, we sit there and bite our nails as the ball is snapped....and...(Well, back to science) NASA has presented another goal that only NASA could accomplish and that new goal NASA is...to send humans and in this case not humans from the general public but human astronauts to the furthest ends of space.
NASA has begun their new engine test project featuring the new RS-25 rocket engine No. 0525 that is currently in the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi preparing for a grueling series of tests. The NASA Stennis facility team of engineers will perform developmental and flight certification tests of the RS-25 rocket engine which is really a modified version of the space shuttle`s main engine that was the main power behind the many NASA missions from 1981 to 2011.
Steve Wofford who is a SLS Liquid Engines Element manager commented on this by saying, "This test series is a major milestone because it will be our first opportunity to operate the engine with a new controller and to test propellant inlet conditions for SLS that are different than the space shuttle. This testing will confirm the RS-25 will be successful at powering SLS." (Wofford, S.)
The early testing stage will focus on collecting data which will be related to performance and the new advanced engine controller which was a recent upgrade to the RS-25 engine and the early tests will also collect other types of data related to the other various modifications of the engine. This new high-tech and advanced controller mechanism regulates all valves that direct the flow of propellant to the main engine which regulates and sets the amount of thrust generated during the engine test. This test is known as the Hot fire Test. The propellant flow while the spacecraft is in flight is also regulated by the advanced controller which helps determine the speed and the trajectory of the spacecraft. The controller also regulates the engine start-up sequence which in engineering is vitally important on any high-tech engine like the RS-25.
The controller also goes a step further and regulates the opposite of the engine start-up sequence by regulating the engine shut-down sequence which again is vitally important for proper operation in normal operations and emergency operations. SO, it looks like this new controller is really one of the main engineering brains of the make-up of the RS-25 engine.
Gary Benton who is the RS-25 rocket engine test project manager at Stennis elaborated a little more on the overall test of the RS-25 engine, "Installation of RS-25 engine No. 0525 signals the launch of another major rocket engine test project for human space exploration on the A-1 Test Stand."(Benton, G.)
The overall reasoning for the new high-tech, RS-25 engine is to carry astronauts deeper into space than ever before and a couple destinations NASA is looking at sending astronauts to are Mars and one of the many asteroids somewhere far, far away.
So, the possibility exists in the future to maybe extend the sending of astronauts to the general public to the ends of our solar system. Hey, by then we may even be living on other planets and on those early weekend trips to the mall because if you live in an area like I do right now and that`s all there is to do on the weekends is go visit the food court at the mall (Geeze, I have to move eventually out of here)you could hop on a NASA space craft, pay your toll like riding the bus and go visit Ant Martha who may be living say on Venus and spend the weekend hanging out in a complete different atmosphere than the one we live in here on Earth. You never know...
NASA Begins Engine Test Project for Space Launch System Rocket,
(http://www.nasa.gov/stennis) Retrieved July 17, 2014.
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