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20 October 2017

RIP ears - NASA just released footage of their latest rocket engine firing

By James LisleJames Lisle

Yeah - it mightn't be car related, but who doesn’t love rockets?

Stuck up in the Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi, this RS-25 rocket engine underwent a 500-second ‘hot-fire’ test earlier this week.

Similar to the stress testing automotive engineers perform on car engines to expose any design oversights - like how AMG puts their engines through a Nurburgring run on a dyno - the test is a practical display to make sure the engines won’t conk out at any point during the eight-minute run up to space.

You know how manufacturers will rev their engines until destruction? Same thing. You know how manufacturers will rev their engines until destruction? Same thing.

Funny enough, NASA hasn't put the rocket on a dyno, so we can’t provide any RWHP figures. But the spec sheet claims 512,300 lb of thrust each. If you want to know what that is in horsepower or kilowatts, it’s best to ask someone who watches Rick and Morty.

Apparently, there are many theories on how to do it – but all of them produce completely different figures. But seeing as how kW and Hp are measurements of energy, and thrust is unit of force, it’s not a true conversion.

So let’s just say it makes a fair about of power. More than what a Nissan Micra coughs out anyway.

Beat that, NASA. Beat that, NASA.

Fuel? That’s a special blend of E10 and LPG bought straight from the United 24 at the Ayers Rock Roadhouse on the Pacific Highway. Except there’s about 15ml of octane booster too. Just for that little bit of extra kick.

Not really. The rocket runs on a pressurised mix of liquid oxygen and hydrogen that gets delivered by four giant turbopumps. They’re kind of like turbochargers, except just one blade on a turbopump generates the same amount of power as a Corvette engine, according to  NASA. Operating temperatures range from -252°C to a white-hot 3315°C. Which is about 10°C less than that annoying metal bit on your car’s seatbelt in summer.

If only my car started like this... If only my car started like this...

The test was conducted in preparation for powering the Exploration Mission-2 lunar loop in 2022. After that’s done, it’ll be responsible for getting humans to Mars. Fingers crossed.

For some more space related stuff, click here for a constant live-stream from the International Space Station.

What do you think about the NASA RS-25 rocket engine? Which car would you put it in? Tell us what you think in the comments below.