Extending the capability of the past for exploration
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne was contracted by NASA to develop the Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine (CECE), a deep-throttling 15,000 pound thrust class demonstrator rocket engine. A mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fueled the CECE.
Cryogenic propulsion is a key capability required to execute and support a variety of in-space applications, including human-lunar landings, in-space transfer systems and the exploration of Mars.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has extensive experience in cryogenic propulsion. The CECE benefited from the fundamental design of the RL10, which has earned a reputation of being one of the most reliable, safe and high-performing cryogenic upper stage engines ever developed. The RL10 is currently in production for service on the Atlas and Delta launch vehicles.
The CECE leverages the performance and reliability benefits of the RL10, offering NASA an affordable, low-risk solution to securing propulsion systems for use across multiple mission segments.