March 25, 2009

Construction Contract Awarded For Rocket Engine Testing

NASA signed a contract Tuesday with Roy Anderson Corp. of Gulfport, Miss., for a general construction package on the A-3 test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The five-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract's value is not to exceed $45 million. Contract work includes installation of the general mechanical and electrical support for the A-3 test stand.

The A-3 test stand is being built at Stennis to test the J-2X engine for NASA's Constellation Program. 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. 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 summer 2007, with the first test scheduled for 2012. The structure is the first large test stand to be built since the south Mississippi site was established in the 1960s.


Image Caption: Steel is rising from the foundation of the new A-3 Test Stand under construction at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi. Workers with Lafayette Steel Erector Inc. are expected to erect more than 4 million pounds of fabricated steel at the site by April 2009. The new A-3 Test Stand will be able to simulate altitudes of up to 100,000 feet and will be used to test the J-2X rocket engine currently being developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The J-2X engine will be used to help power the new Ares I and Ares V rockets, centerpieces of NASA's Constellation Program that will send humans back to the moon and possibly beyond. The A-3 stand is the first large test stand to be built at Stennis since the 1960s. Image credit: NASA/SSC


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