Methane/Oxygen Motors Will Send Humans To Moon, Mars and
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne completed a series of successful
hot-fire tests for a propulsion system that could lead to increased
mission capability and flexibility in sending humans to the moon,
Mars and beyond.
During the tests at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland,
OH a 25 pound-force thruster testbed successfully demonstrated
cooling with gaseous methane and gaseous oxygen, as well as rapid
start and stop at simulated altitude conditions. The tests also
gathered a wide range of data on ignition and combustion
performance. A test program highlight was the igniter demonstration
of split-second pulses that emulate how a spacecraft may perform
during a mission.
"These successful tests mark another milestone for Pratt &
Whitney Rocketdyne's contribution to the US Space Exploration
Policy," said Terry Lorier, program manager, Space Propulsion
Systems Development, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "It
demonstrates our team is ready to proceed with development of this
technology, and provides data in support of NASA's upcoming
decision on whether to baseline oxygen and methane as propellants
for use on future NASA vehicles and missions."
The hot-fire testing was conducted as part of the Propulsion and
Cryogenics Advanced Development (PCAD) project under NASA's
Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP). The goal is to
develop and demonstrate key technologies that will enable NASA to
conduct future human exploration missions to the moon, Mars, and
beyond. Testing was conducted at NASA Glenn Research Center under
contract management from NASA Johnson Space Center.