An AJ26 is test fired at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Photo Credit: Orbital

Orbital currently plans to launch the first of its Antares rockets in February 2013. Photo Credit: NASA

Aerojet Successfully Test Fires AJ26 Engine

By Jason Rhian

Aerojet has conducted a successful test fire of the company’s AJ26 rocket engine at NASA’s Stennis Space Center located in Mississippi. The test fire was conducted on Friday, Jan. 18. NASA, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and Aerojet monitored the test firing. The AJ26 is planned for use on Orbital’s Antares launch vehicle.

Friday’s test fire marked the eleventh AJ26 to be tested at Stennis. The AJ26 is, in actuality, a Russian engine formerly known as the NK-33. Aerojet modified the engines by removing some harnessing and adding systems that would make the engines compatible with U.S. systems.

“This test kicks off a crucial year for the AJ26 engine,” said Aerojet’s Executive Director of Space & Launch Programs Pete Cova. “We have multiple engine acceptance tests at Stennis in the plan, as well as support of the upcoming Antares Stage 1 Hot Fire Test and the first demonstration test flight. Our team has worked hard to get to this point, and we’re looking forward to seeing AJ26 engines fly.”

After engineers have reviewed the data from the test, the AJ26 will be readied for flight and then shipped to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, where it will be installed into the first stage of Orbital’s Antares rocket.

Read more: Aerojet Successfully Test Fires AJ26 Engine « AmericaSpace.

Home           Top of page