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Thu, Apr 28, 2011

RS-68A Engine Design Certification Completed

Configuration Meets All Designated Requirements For Flight

Design Certification Review for the upgraded RS-68A engine configuration, demonstrating the hydrogen-fueled engine has met all requirements to power heavy-lift vehicles into space, has been successfully completed by manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

"This is a stamp of approval for the RS-68A engine and major milestone for Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, our United Launch Alliance customer and, most importantly, the nation," said Dan Adamski, RS-68 program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "The hard work and determination that everyone dedicated to the RS-68A program over the years brings a new large, liquid hydrogen-fueled engine to market – one capable of lifting heavy payloads into orbit and possibly beyond."

The Engine System Design Certification Review, conducted on March 31 and April 1 by ULA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, evaluated the RS-68A engine configuration against detailed requirements and specifications. It was the culmination of a series of reviews that assessed the engine at the component, subsystem and system level, and confirmed compliance with requirements through analysis, test and hardware inspections of development engine 14001 and certification engines 30001 and 30002.

The first three RS-68A flight engines – 30003, 30004 and 30005 -- have successfully completed acceptance testing. Engine 30003 has already been integrated onto a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle in Decatur, AL. Integration activities for engine 30004 have been initiated, and the third engine, 30005, has successfully completed its processing at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and is awaiting shipment to Decatur in May. The three engines are scheduled to boost a future Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle into orbit carrying a government payload.

The RS-68A, an upgrade of the RS-68 engine, is a liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen booster engine designed to provide increased thrust and improved fuel efficiency for the Delta IV family of launch vehicles. Each RS-68A will provide 702,000 pounds of lift-off thrust, or 39,000 more pounds of thrust than a basic RS-68 engine, with increased combustion efficiency as well.

FMI: www.prattwhitneyrocketdyne.com

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