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NASA Space Science

NASA Successfully Test Fires J-2X Engine. 119

tetrahedrassface writes "NASA successfully test fired the J-2X engine Wednesday for 500 seconds at Stennis Space Center. The J2-X is derived from the J2 engine from the Apollo Era, and will power the upper stage of the SLS. From the article: 'We have 500 seconds of good data, and the first look is that everything went great. The J-2X engine team and the SLS program as a whole are extremely happy that we accomplished a good, safe and successful test today,' said Mike Kynard, Space Launch System Engines Element Manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. 'This engine test firing gives us critical data to move forward in the engine's development.'"

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NASA Successfully Test Fires J-2X Engine.

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  • by acehole ( 174372 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @11:26PM (#38008434) Homepage

    If the space race had continued with the vigour that it did instead of petering out after barely a decade, what could have been achieved and what would have already been achieved by now? Instead we reached the moon, gave a high five then twiddled our thumbs in LEO for the next few decades.

    It seems to me like it was a lost opportunity not to maintain the speed of exploration.

  • Re:1960's technology (Score:4, Interesting)

    by toQDuj ( 806112 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @01:49AM (#38009056) Homepage Journal

    Because apparently, the Russians do it better (see video). I also remember there being a stock of leftover engines from the end of the cold war (not sure if it was the NK-33), that exceeded the US theoretical predictions on some maximum engine parameters. So there are still lessons to be learned. []

  • Fuel is cheap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wagnerrp ( 1305589 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @02:37AM (#38009340)

    1310kN (thrust) / 448s (specific impulse) = 298kg/s exhaust mass flow rate
    298kg/s * 1/9 = 33kg/s hydrogen mass flow rate * $5.50/kg = $181.50/s
    298kg/s * 8/9 = 265kg/s oxygen mass flow rate * $3/kg = $795/s

    $181.50/s + $795.00/s = $976.50/s

    In other words, you're looking at under a thousand dollars per second to run the rocket motor, and about half a million for the total burn. Fuel is cheap, the real cost is in the vehicles themselves. That was the whole reason the Shuttle was supposed to be reusable. Had the Shuttle worked as intended, we would be looking at payload costs on the order of $2000/kg rather than the $20000+/kg it saw in practice. The problem with the Shuttle was the costly inspection and refurbishment after each flight.

  • Re:1960's technology (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @02:56AM (#38009474) Homepage

    And also the Russian RD180 closed loop engines which are designed to also use the energy driving the pumps for propulsion which means that they are more efficient.

    So now is the question rather when we will see a Saturn VI on the launch pad...

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?