March 24, 2009

Rocket test construction contract awarded

U.S. space agency officials signed a construction contract Tuesday with the Roy Anderson Corp. to support a rocket engine testing platform.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the Gulfport, Miss., company will install the general mechanical and electrical support for an engine test stand for the J-2X rocket engine at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

The five-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract's value is not to exceed $45 million.

The Constellation Program is developing next-generation spacecraft systems to send astronauts to the International Space Station, the moon, Mars and destinations beyond. The J-2X engine will power the upper stage of the Ares I crew exploration vehicle and the Earth departure stage of the Ares V cargo launch vehicle.

The A-3 test stand will allow engineers to analyze the J-2X engine's operating parameters by simulating conditions at altitudes as high as 100,000 feet, NASA said. "For these simulations, the test stand will generate approximately 4,620 pounds per second of steam and use it to reduce the engine test cell pressure.

Construction began on the A-3 test stand in 2007, with the first test scheduled for 2012.