Thu, Dec 09, 2010
Oxidizer Turbopump Assembled On Human-Rated Engine
The oxidizer turbopump for NASA's J-2X rocket engine has been
successfully assembled, moving the next-generation, human-rated
rocket engine one step closer to testing at Stennis Space Center,
MS, in 2011.
J-2X Engine Mount
"The oxidizer turbopump is one of the most complex components on
any rocket engine," said Jim Maser, president, Pratt & Whitney
Rocketdyne, which completed the assembly this week. "The assembly
of the turbopump requires extreme care and precision, allowing it
to distribute the highly chemically-reactive liquid propellant
safely through the engine to meet unprecedented performance
The oxidizer turbopump delivers high pressure liquid oxygen to
the engine's main injector, pumping more than 80 percent of the
propellant consumed by the engine. It is driven by a turbine that
uses the products of the gas generator after it has driven the
engine's fuel turbopump.
The J-2X engine is designed to accommodate the varying needs of
space exploration, and incorporates state-of-the-art improvements.
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
NASA's J-2X use liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, but it has the
capability of being a technology demonstrator, namely as a test-bed
for a liquid oxygen-methane engine.
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