The post-vibration altitude hot fire test sequences mapped the thruster health over its full operating range and proved the capability to exceed 200 lbs. of thrust during steady-state firing, thereby demonstrating an Orion worst-case contingency operation.
"This recent testing mitigates an identified risk and provides additional data against which the Orion crew module engine's analytical models can be validated," said
Under contract with Lockheed Martin, NASA's prime contractor for Orion, Aerojet provides propulsion for the crew module as well as all engines aboard the service module. The current Orion crew module flight configuration includes 12 MR-104G engines operating at 160 lbs. of thrust. The MR-104 engine family originally provided in-space propulsion for the Voyager 1 and 2 and Magellan missions. Subsequent MR-104 variants provided propulsion for Landsat and NOAA as well as other U.S. government programs.
The Orion crew exploration vehicle will be the flagship of NASA's Constellation Program, which is comprised of the spacecraft and systems that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station and conduct sustained human exploration of the moon and Mars.