Aerojet Rocketdyne conducts record setting AR1 test
Aerojet Rocketdyne set the record for the highest chamber pressure of any United States-produced liquid oxygen and kerosene main combustion system during a Feb. 22, 2017, test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
The new record was set during a series of successful test firings of the AR1‘s staged combustion system. This particular test combined the engine’s preburner with the main injector in order to validate injector design parameters and performance.
“Staged-combustion testing is a critical step in proving our design for AR1 and reestablishing U.S. preeminence in hydrocarbon space launch propulsion,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake in a press release.
Drake said Aerojet Rocketdyne has been working on the engine program since 2014 and remains on target to deliver a flight-qualified engine in 2019.
“The latest testing validates our flight design and provides high confidence as we move further into AR1 engine manufacturing,” Drake said.
Both Aerojet Rocketdyne with its AR1 and Blue Origin with its BE-4 engine are working toward developing oxidizer-rich staged-combustion engines to end U.S. reliance on Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines. Establishing independence from the Russian engine is becoming increasingly important as relations between the two countries remain strained.
“AR1 is the lowest risk, lowest cost and fastest path to end U.S. reliance on Russian engines for the launch of America’s national security and civil space missions,” Drake said.
The AR1 is a 500,000-pound (2,200-kilonewton) thrust-class liquid-oxygen/kerosene engine and is slated to be completed in 2019.
College student and long time space enthusiast, Jose has been a constant visitor to Cape Canaveral since he moved to central Florida. He joined the SFI team in the hopes of becoming more involved in the coverage of spaceflight and space exploration.