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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

CONTINUITY: NASA: RS-25 Rocket Engine “Improved”

Forty years after it first flew as the Space Shuttle Main Engine, the Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 rocket engine, which was originally designed for a service life of 27,000 seconds and 55 starts, has been “improved”, delivering a service life of 1700 seconds (6.8% of the original) and 4 starts (7.3% of the original). Thrust has been increased by 6%, along with “some cost savings”—the cost for the 24 RS-25 engines intended for the Space Launch System (SLS) comes to around US$ 146 million per engine.

The engines, routinely refurbished and reused in the Space Shuttle program, will be discarded as twisted wreckage in the briny deep on each flight of the SLS.

Elon Musk estimates the cost of the SpaceX Raptor engine, which has slightly more thrust (albeit less fuel efficiency) than the SL-25, and is intended to be reused numerous times, at less than US$ 1 million for current engines, and a quarter of that for improved versions in volume production.

Posted at July 28, 2021 14:27