Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully completed a series of hot-fire tests on the second and final RS-68A certification test engine, paving the way for its use in powering heavy-lift launch vehicles into space. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.
The RS-68A is an upgrade of the RS-68 engine, and 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. Like the RS-68, RS-68A engines will be used to boost the Delta IV rocket, but each RS-68A engine will provide 705,000 pounds of lift-off thrust, or 42,000 more pounds of thrust than a basic RS-68 engine. This test series was designed to demonstrate operation of the RS-68A engine over a wide-range of operating conditions that will help verify compliance with customer requirements.
"The second RS-68A certification engine E30102 was successfully hot-fire tested for more than 2,900 seconds over a series of 12 tests," said Jim Tibble, RS-68A engine development project manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "The team has done an amazing job in completing a challenging development and certification test program, and will now proceed through a series of design audits culminating in the Design Certification Review planned for the first quarter of 2011."