South Mississippi demonstrated its technological might Tuesday with the successful testing of the third flight controller for use on a deep space rocket at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County and the successful completion of builder sea trials on the guided missile destroyer Ralph Johnson at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Jackson County.
The test at Stennis takes NASA a step closer to the simultaneous testing of the four RS-25 engines that will launch the first Orion spacecraft. NASA tested the first flight controller in March on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis and the second in May. Tuesday’s 500-second test installed the controller unit on an RS-25 development engine and fired it for the same length of time as will be needed during launch.
The RS-25 engines that will be used on the initial flight are former space shuttle main engines that have been modified to perform at a higher thrust level and with new controllers.
The Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) spent more than three days in the Gulf of Mexico as Ingalls tested the ship’s main propulsion, combat and other ship systems.
“DDG 114’s sea trials showcase the skill of our shipbuilders and our large, national DDG 51 supplier base,” said and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. “We look forward to acceptance trials, and to delivering our 30th Aegis destroyer to our U.S. Navy customer later this year.”
Ingalls has delivered 29 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy, and Cuccias said the company looks forward to delivering the Ralph Johnson later this year.
Ingalls’s 29th Arleigh Burke-class John Finn (DDG 113) was commissioned July 15 at Pearl Harbor. Under construction in Pascagoula are Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) and Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123). Ingalls received a contract modification in June to incorporate “Flight III” upgrades to Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), which starts fabrication next year.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles, Ingalls said in a press release. DDG 114 is named for Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, who was 19 when he hurled himself on an explosive device during the Vietnam War. He died instantly and saved the life of a Marine.