ULA PAO Mike (who's very good) will be sending a photo in about an hour.
United Launch Alliance First RS-68A Hot-Fire Engine Test a Success
Denver, Colo., (Sept. 25, 2008) - United Launch Alliance today announced
the successful first hot-firing of the new Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
RS-68A engine that will be used to power a future upgraded version of
the Delta IV Heavy Lift launch vehicle. The hot-fire test was conducted
3:16 p.m. CDT, at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss., today.
Stennis is the home of America's largest rocket engine test facility.
The RS-68A engine, an upgraded version of the current RS-68 liquid
hydrogen-liquid oxygen engine used on Delta IV, will allow the Delta IV
Heavy vehicle to boost heavier payloads into orbit. Currently, the RS-68
engine can deliver more than 660,000 pounds of sea level thrust and the
upgraded RS-68A will increase this to more than 700,000 pounds. The
RS-68A also improves on the specific impulse, or fuel efficiency, of the
RS-68. The Delta IV Heavy is comprised of three Delta IV core boosters.
With the new RS-68A engines, the Delta IV Heavy's thrust will increase
by more than 100,000 pounds.
The hot-fire test lasted the full planned duration of approximately 40
seconds and the test team will spend the next several days evaluating
data to characterize engine performance and to clear the engine for
future tests. This initial test was on the first of three engines that
will be used during an extensive engine test program. The test program
will continue during the next twelve months, leading to certification of
the new engine in mid-2010 and initial launch capability of the upgraded
Delta IV Heavy in early 2011.
"We congratulate Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and the entire RS-68A engine
team for this successful first step in making the most powerful liquid
hydrogen-liquid oxygen engine in the world even more capable," said Jim
Sponnick, ULA Vice President, Delta Product Line. "The RS-68A upgrade
is a critical element in upgrading the Delta IV Heavy allowing ULA to
meet evolving needs of our government customers with even greater
reliability and performance than achieved in the past, while keeping
mission success our top priority."
ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions
are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and
integration operations are located in Decatur, Ala., Harlingen, Tex.,
San Diego, Calif., and Denver, Colo. Launch operations are located at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base,
For more information on the ULA joint venture, visit the ULA Web site atwww.ulalaunch.com