Pratt & Whitney to Develop New Upper-Stage Rocket Engine
Pratt & Whitney (P&W) Space Propulsion operations plans to begin development of a full scale engine demonstrator for a next generation high-performance liquid-hydrogen-fueled 60,000 pound-thrust-class rocket engine, designated the RL60. The RL60's performance increase will come in a package approximately the same size as P&W's RL10, currently the industry's workhorse upper-stage engine for Atlas, Titan and Delta launch vehicles. The new engine will offer throttling capability ranging from 50,000 to 65,000 pounds of thrust. The program calls for the RL60 to be built and tested domestically with key components to be provided by three international industry strategic suppliers: Volvo Aero of Sweden will provide a regeneratively cooled nozzle; Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) of Japan will provide the main hydrogen (fuel) turbopump, and Chemical Automatics Design Bureau (CADB) of Russia will produce the liquid oxygen (oxidizer) turbopump. P&W has initiated the first phase of the development program, which includes major component fabrication and demonstration testing later this year, leading to a full-scale engine demonstrator test planned for the end of 2002. Following a successful program, the RL60 could proceed into full-scale development and be ready for service by the end of 2005.