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How Is A Test Stand Like A Space Ship?

6 Aug 2015, 13:49 UTC
How Is A Test Stand Like A Space Ship?
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I’d like to introduce a special guest blogger this week, Martin Burkey. Martin is the SLS strategic communication team’s resident expert on all things engines. As we prepare for next week’s RS-25 engine testing event at Stennis Space Center – if you’re not already, follow @NASA_SLS on Twitter and our Facebook link below for more info – Martin will be filling in this week and next to talk about our engines and how we test them. — David

None of the test stands at NASA’s Stennis Space Center look anything like a spaceship. But they operate a lot like a spaceship, even though none of them will ever leave the ground.
A test stand is designed to make a fire-breathing rocket engine think it’s a spaceship, while at the same time keeping it from taking off for space the way it was made to. Those two requirements account for why test stands look and operate as they do… and why they aren’t as compact, light and sleek as a rocket.
Burning of the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen during an RS-25 test can actually cause the formation of rain clouds.
Most of the big Stennis test stands were built in ...

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