Liquid Oxygen/Hydrogen Upper Stage Moves Forward
Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced Monday that it has
successfully completed a major milestone in the development of a
ground demonstrator for the Next Generation Engine (NGE) program.
Aerojet, with its partner Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc. (FTT),
recently completed the Preliminary Design Review of the turbopump
assembly before an independent review team comprised of third party
"We continue to make steady progress on a modern, all-U.S.
LOX/hydrogen upper stage engine which will significantly reduce
U.S. launch vehicle propulsion costs and improve performance," said
Aerojet's Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van
Kleeck. "We are looking forward to a future open NGE competition
that focuses on modern and affordable design and manufacturing
approaches that are critical to long-term launch vehicle propulsion
"It has been decades since there has been an open engine
competition in this country which has not been good for U.S.
competitiveness or its propulsion industrial base. Today,
unfortunately, we fly a mix of costly old technology and foreign
engines, neither of which will allow the U.S. to maintain space
access leadership. A competitively procured NGE will have a very
significant positive effect on the U.S. propulsion industrial
bases' competitiveness and Aerojet will provide a compelling
solution to this challenge."
Aerojet has been preparing for a new LOX/hydrogen competition
for many years. The company has executed or shared in more than 40
different programs that have generated dozens of discrete design
and manufacturing technologies that are now being incorporated into
the company's low-risk NGE design.
More recently, the Aerojet/FTT team successfully built and
tested the Upper Stage Engine Technology (USET) hydrogen pump at
the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The USET program is an
AFRL Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT)
program that started in 2003 and is focused on the next generation
of physics-based modeling and simulation design tools to reduce
design time, lower cost and increase fidelity for the next U.S.
upper stage engine.
Other recent foundational LOX/hydrogen programs at Aerojet
include the Liquid Engine Test Bed and the Integrated Powerhead
Demonstrator, which were produced for NASA's Marshall Space Flight
Center and for the AFRL respectively. Critical tooling as well as
sea-level and altitude test sites for NGE are already in place at
Aerojet or at its partner companies.
Aerojet calls itself a world-recognized aerospace and defense
leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion,
defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a technology-based
manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a
real estate segment. Florida Turbine Technologies specializes in
the design, development, manufacture, and test of turbomachinery
components and systems for aircraft engines, space propulsion, and
industrial gas turbines.