Watch NASA's most powerful rocket engine ever tested

NASA engineers built and tested the agency's first full-scale rotating detonation rocket

engine, or RDRE (rotating detonation rocket engine). This advanced rocket engine design will change the design of propulsion systems in the future.

RDRE is different from other rocket enginesthat obtains thrust from the supersonic combustion of fuel, also known as detonation combustion. They will be equipped with descent and interplanetary vehicles that will go to study the Moon and Mars. It will be especially useful for long range missions because it produces more power than current power plants. At the same time, it requires much less fuel to operate.

Data from RDRE hot fire tests carried out byin 2022 at the Marshall East Test Site, engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and employees of IN Space LLC in West Lafayette, Indiana, confirmed. The engine was started more than ten times within more than ten minutes.

During testing, the maximum thrust RDREreached record levels. The GRCop-42 copper alloy used in the engine design allows the engine to operate in harsh environments without overheating. A special "mixture" of metals was also developed by NASA.

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