Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Continues Tests on Department of Defense, NASA Engines
CANOGA PARK, Calif., Thursday, September 22, 2011
In an impressive display of power and technology, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully completed a series of hot-fire tests on the certified RS-68A engine, the world's most powerful hydrogen-fueled engine. The tests demonstrated the capability of the engine to operate for 4,800 seconds of cumulative run time – four times the design life of the engine and more than 10 times what's needed to boost a United Launch Alliance heavy-lift rocket into space. The tests took place at John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.
"We are proud to celebrate this success with our United Launch Alliance customer on a test series that went above and beyond in demonstrating the robustness and reliability of the RS-68A engine," said Dan Adamski, RS-68 program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "The RS-68A performed beautifully and as expected, and test results indicate no issues with the engine hardware, further demonstrating its readiness as a heavy-lift engine. The tests also provided invaluable data that improves our ability to predict the performance of the engine on launch day."
The RS-68A is a liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen booster engine designed to provide increased thrust and improved fuel efficiency for the Delta IV family of launch vehicles. It evolved from the RS-68 engine, which was developed and certified for commercial use entirely on private company funds. Each RS-68A will provide 702,000 pounds of lift-off thrust, or 39,000 more pounds of thrust than the RS-68 engine, with increased combustion efficiency as well.
In addition to the successful margin demonstration testing of the RS-68A engine, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, together with NASA, has begun testing on the upper-stage J-2X engine. To date, five hot-fire tests have been conducted on the J-2X, which could be used to boost humans beyond low-Earth orbit.
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. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is headquartered in Canoga Park, Calif., and has facilities in Huntsville, Ala.; Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Stennis Space Center, Miss; and Carlstadt, N.J. 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.