The Stennis Space Center is currently the focal point of the milestones toward the debut launch of the Space Launch System (SLS), with the Artemis-1 Core Stage currently undergoing Green Run testing on the B-2 Test Stand and the arrival of the first set of RL10 engines that will power the rocket’s Upper Stage from Artemis-2, onwards.
Four of the engines were recently delivered, according to contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne in an update on February 3. They are set to power the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) upper stage of the Block 1 SLS, which is currently expected to be involved with the first three Artemis missions.
The RL10 – which is used in various forms with Atlas’ Centaur Upper Stage (RL10A-3) and Delta IV’s Upper Stage (RL10B-2)- has a deep history that ranges back to the Saturn I’s S-IV Stage.
It was first tested on the ground in 1959 and debuted on a launch in 1962 in the dual engine RL10A-3 configuration.
The RL-10 during a test firing – credit Aerojet Rocketdyne
“Nearly 500 Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engines have powered launches into space,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “Aerojet Rocketdyne continues to upgrade and improve this highly-reliable, ...