Author Topic: NASA'S Stennis Space Center To Test Rocket Engine For Taurus II  (Read 2328 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Not sure if we should cover Taurus II in US launchers or in the Commercial section.

Antonio, it's your baby, your call :)

RELEASE: 08-326

NASA'S STENNIS SPACE CENTER TO TEST ROCKET ENGINE FOR TAURUS II

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center will
provide propulsion system acceptance testing for the Taurus II space
launch vehicle, which Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., is
developing. The first Taurus II mission will be flown in support of
NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services cargo demonstration
to the International Space Station. The demonstration currently is
planned for the end of 2010 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on
Wallops Island, Va.

Orbital's Taurus II design uses a pair of Aerojet AJ26 rocket engines
to provide first stage propulsion for the new launch vehicle. Orbital
anticipates the first engine will be delivered to Stennis in
mid-2009.

"We have been tasked to design and modify one of our most versatile
test facilities and have it checked out and ready for testing in 11
months," said Robert Bruce, Stennis' AJ26 test project manager.
"While this is an aggressive schedule, we are confident in our
ability to support Orbital's development effort. We are excited to be
selected by Orbital and are now fully integrated into their launch
vehicle development team."

Stennis engineers will have less than one year both to design and make
modifications to the E-1 Test Stand to accommodate testing of the
engine. The engine uses RP-1 hydrocarbon fuel, basically refined
rocket-grade kerosene, as rocket propellant. This type of rocket fuel
has not been used at Stennis to test a rocket engine this powerful
since the late 1960s.

"When Stennis Space Center develops this capability, it will make
Stennis' test expertise available to a whole new line of rocket
engine developers in both the commercial and government space launch
arena," Bruce said. "We are renewing a capability that the center had
when it first opened, giving Stennis the ability to test hydrocarbon
fuel for the first time at the E-1 Test Stand. This fuel was used in
the 1960s, when Stennis conducted tests for the Saturn V rocket. We
have only tested with RP-1 in two much smaller tests since that
time."

Testing the engine will require two phases of work. The initial phase
will ensure the facility is meeting its designed requirements.
Engineers then will test the engine to determine whether it meets the
contractor's requirements. This second phase, the acceptance test,
will take place in late summer 2009.

For more information about NASA's Stennis Space Center, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis

Offline Khadgars

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Interesting, exciting times indeed.  I'm not familiar with the Taurus II.  From what I read it appears it's main function is to service ISS and launch other payloads into LEO.  Does that include human cargo?  I couldn't find anything on it.

Offline William Barton

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Interesting, exciting times indeed.  I'm not familiar with the Taurus II.  From what I read it appears it's main function is to service ISS and launch other payloads into LEO.  Does that include human cargo?  I couldn't find anything on it.

http://www.orbital.com/AdvancedSpace/AdvancedLaunchSystems/TaurusII/

Offline wannamoonbase

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Excellent. 

For the aerospace industry that is a very agreesive schedule.

Involving a NASA center will add some cost and complexity but should also create an environment where NASA will be more comfortable with the Taurus 2.

Sounds like a good engineering and business decision.

Best of luck Orbital.
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Offline Antares

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There aren't private rocket test stands, so a Center has to be involved.  Stennis is very accommodating for new business.  I think there's a similar balance of entrepreneurial spirit and established processes in both Orbital and Stennis - a good match.  And, it sounds like they've got one of Stennis's best folks working as their NASA contact.

Taurus II will, to a first approximation, take over the Delta II market niche.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

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