Fri, Sep 05, 2008
Aimed At Reducing Risks In Service On Manned Capsule
Aerojet tells ANN it successfully completed a hot-fire testing
program of NASA's Orion Crew Module's 160 lb. thrust
mono-propellant engine. Test program objectives were met by
demonstrating pulse mode operation of the engine at expected Orion
The altitude/pulse mode hot fire test program consisted of 87
engine starts (exceeding the specification requirement), 2,118
engine pulses (exceeding the previous qualification and nearly
three times the specification requirement), and more than 400 lbs.
of propellant throughput (approximately two and half times the
specification requirement). The testing concluded not only with the
objectives met but with life remaining on the engine, indicating
that the MR-104G, with upgraded thrust, will meet the required
Orion pulse mode operating conditions.
"Risk reduction testing of the Orion thrusters continues to be a
highly successful collaboration between NASA, Lockheed Martin and
Aerojet. This will result in early retirement of key program
risks," said Doug Cosens, Aerojet's Project Orion Program director.
"The data derived from this test series will allow mission
designers to anchor their models with very high confidence."
Aerojet will provide propulsion for NASA's Orion Crew Module as
well as all engines aboard the Orion Service Module to prime
contractor Lockheed Martin. The current Orion Crew Module flight
configuration includes 12 MR-104G engines operating at 160 lbs.
thrust. The MR-104G engine family originally provided in-space
propulsion for the Voyager 1 and 2 and Magellan missions.
Subsequent MR-104G variants provided propulsion for Landsat and
NOAA satellites as well as other US government programs.
The Orion crew exploration vehicle will be the flagship of
NASA's Constellation Program, which is comprised of the spacecraft
and systems that will carry astronauts to the International Space
Station and conduct sustained human exploration of the moon and
Mars. The first crewed mission of Orion is currently scheduled for
Owned by GenCorp, Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and
defense leader principally serving the missile and space
propulsion, defense and armaments markets.
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