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Rocket Engine Achieves Full Power In Test

By | July 24, 2006

      A staged combustion liquid rocket booster engine achieved full power in a test at at the NASA Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. [GY] unit, announced.

      The demonstrator reached steady-state operation, achieving 100 percent power, or mainstage performance, for the first time, according to Aerojet.

      The engine, dubbed the Integrated Powerhead Demonstrator (IPD), combines the very latest in rocket engine propulsion technologies, the company stated.

      This IPD ground engine is being designed, developed and tested through the combined efforts of Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, under the program direction of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and technical direction of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

      The engine technologies are directed at achieving the goals of the Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT) program and Exploration Technology Development program of the NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate.

      Capable of generating about 250,000 pounds of thrust, the engine technology uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen in a first U.S. demonstration of the full-flow, staged- combustion cycle, according to Aerojet.

      It has been designed as a reusable engine system, capable of up to 200 flights, and features high-performance long-life technologies and materials.

      Aerojet’s fuel and oxidizer preburners met all their objectives for mainstage operation.

      The company stated it also developed the first U.S.-built channel wall nozzle to be tested in an engine and it continues to perform flawlessly.

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