NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi conducted a successful test firing Wednesday of the liquid-fuel AJ26 engine that will power the first stage of Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Taurus II space launch vehicle.
Orbital and its engine supplier, Aerojet, test-fired the engine on Stennis' E-1 test stand. The test directly supports NASA's partnerships to enable commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station.
The initial test, the first in a series of three firings, lasted 10 seconds and served as a short-duration readiness firing to verify AJ26 engine start and shutdown sequences, E-1 test stand operations, and ground-test engine controls.
The test was conducted by a joint operations team comprised of Orbital, Aerojet and Stennis engineers, with Stennis employees serving as test conductors.
The joint operations team and other NASA engineers will conduct an in-depth data review of all subsystems in preparation for a 50-second hot-fire acceptance test scheduled several weeks from now. A third hot-fire test at Stennis also is planned to verify tuning of engine control valves.
"Congratulations to Orbital and Aerojet for successfully completing another major milestone," said Doug Cooke, associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "This brings us one step closer to realising NASA's goals for accessing low Earth orbit via commercial spacecraft."