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Sat, Mar 12, 2011

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Says RS-68A Production Engine Is Ready For Flight

Hydrogen-Powered Engine Designed To Power Heavy-Lift Vehicles Into Space

A series of Hardware Acceptance Reviews on the first RS-68A production rocket engine has been completed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, validating the hydrogen-fueled engine is ready to power a heavy-lift vehicle into space. "RS-68A engine 30003 has demonstrated all the requirements for flight over a wide range of operating conditions," said Dan Adamski, RS-68 program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "We look forward to working with our customers to ensure the RS-68A engines powering the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle are successful in delivering their important payload into orbit." 

Engine 30003, the first of three RS-68A production engines to undergo a Hardware Acceptance Review, has been shipped to Decatur, AL, for integration onto a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle. RS-68A production engines 30004 and 30005 will undergo Hardware Acceptance Reviews in March and April 2011, respectively, after completion of their hot-fire testing at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. These engines will then be installed onto the launch vehicle. The three engines are scheduled to boost the Delta IV Heavy next year carrying a government payload into orbit. The RS-68A Hardware Acceptance Reviews, conducted by the customer and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, evaluate the engine's compliance with detailed specifications, design, manufacture, checkout, test reliability and quality assurance, qualification and acceptance testing to determine the engines are ready for flight.

The RS-68A is an upgrade of the RS-68 engine, and 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 705,000 pounds of lift-off thrust, or 42,000 more pounds of thrust than a basic RS-68 engine.



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