Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, which is supporting The Boeing Company during the development of its CST-100 spacecraft in NASA's Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2), completed mission-duration hot-fire tests on a launch abort engine on Friday, March 9. The demonstration in California is one of many milestones Boeing is meeting for its funded Space Act Agreement during CCDev2.
"Boeing and its contractor, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, continue to make good progress on milestones supporting the development of their commercial crew transportation capabilities," said Ed Mango, Commercial Crew Program program manager. "The eventual availability of these capabilities from a U.S. domestic provider will enhance U.S. competitiveness and open new markets for the U.S. aerospace industry."
Boeing's Crew Space Transportation system is a reusable, capsule-shaped spacecraft designed to take up to seven people, or a combination of people and cargo, to low Earth orbit, including the International Space Station. Its service module and integrated launch abort propulsion system are designed to push the crew capsule to safety if an abort becomes necessary during launch or ascent. If an abort is not necessary, the system's propellant could be used for other portions of a mission, including re-boosting the orbit of the space station.
"We achieved full thrust on the 40,000-pound thrust-class engine while validating key operating conditions during engine start-up and shut down," said Terry Lorier, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne's Commercial Crew Development program manager, who supports Boeing's program.
Under its fixed-price contract with Boeing, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne is combining its Attitude Control Propulsion System thrusters from heritage spaceflight programs, Bantam abort engine design and storable propellant engineering capabilities.
"The tests provided key thermal and analytical data," Lorier said. "We are well on our way to providing an important propulsion system for safe, reliable human spaceflight."
All of NASA's industry partners under CCDev2 continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.
Date: Mar 14, 2012