• Public Relations
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • Phone (860) 565-9600

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Completes Latest Round of Tests on J-2X Gas Generator

CANOGA PARK, Calif., Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully completed the latest round of tests on the workhorse gas generator for NASA's J-2X rocket engine. With the first NASA J-2X engine far along in development, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is on track to begin testing in 2011 at Stennis Space Center. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

"The tests verified that hardware changes made to the gas generator were effective in maintaining engine stability," said John Vilja, J-2X vice president and program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "This is an exciting time, as we are one step closer to the first hot-fire test on the first new, operational engine developed for NASA since the Space Shuttle Main Engine."

The gas generator produces hot gas which powers the engine's turbo-machinery. It is based on the successful design used on the RS-68 engine system, which is used to power heavy-lift launch vehicles. The recent tests demonstrated that hardware changes and temperature uniformity of the hot gas produced by the generator met customer requirements before the first hot-fire tests.

NASA's J-2X engine will be versatile to the varying needs of space exploration. It was developed with heavy-lift capabilities in mind, and could play an important role as a powerful upper-stage engine for future missions to low earth orbit, Mars or an asteroid. Not only will it burn liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, but NASA's J-2X has the capability of being a technology demonstrator, namely as a test-bed for a liquid oxygen-methane engine.The heart of the J-2X is proven heritage technology that propelled the Apollo-era Saturn V rockets into space, incorporating state-of-the-art improvements.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines. For more information about Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, go to www.prattwhitneyrocketdyne.com.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.