Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles > ULA - Delta, Atlas, Vulcan

ULA Innovation: Integrated Vehicle Fluids (IVF)

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What's so very interesting to me is how much they've pulled together off-the-shelf automotive technology in IVF:

* The ignition coils are used on the GM 5.3 v8 as found in chevy pickup trucks:
* Dry sump lubrication is a pretty standard thing in many forms of racing or for piston aircraft engines that must operate in any orientation. For IVF they make additional use of this to make sure that any hydrogen that bypasses the piston rings is scavenged and burned. Standard design for scavenge pump, probably the oil/gas separator is unusual in that it needs to operate in zero g.
* The flathead configuration was chosen because it gives them an extremely simple valve train, and the ability to extract more heat from the exhaust into the coolant.
* HV LI-ion battery system & starter/generator similar to hybrid vehicles
* off-the-shelf piston rods
* Off the shelf roller bearings for crank & camshaft (reading between the lines a little on this one)
* crankshaft, camshaft, and pistons are all similar enough to normal automotive practice that there are any number of suppliers you could hand specs to and get back finished parts for a very modest amount of money (by space standards).
* picking a company like Roush leverages all this because they know where to get everything needed to build a custom IC piston engine completely from scratch already.

Damon Hill:

--- Quote from: dror on 04/09/2015 01:26 pm ---What makes the choice of piston internal combustion engine?
Why not fuel cells or wankle or others?

--- End quote ---

This question has been asked and answered multiple times: enthalpy.

Is the twin engine setup shown in those simulations just notional or is the first flight actually going to use a twin engine Centaur? Would a single engine Centaur need only one ICE?


I wonder, the rendering to me looked like the two engines had nozzle extensions that had not yet been deployed...

Damon Hill:
I've seen illustrations of single-engine Centaurs with two IVF platforms; I presume dual units are for redundancy and to locate thrusters symmetrically.   IVF isn't for the RL10 only, it supports the entire stage including multiple engines.

It appears nearly all of the hardware is located on the compact platforms, a marked contrast from the clutter of tanks and sundry boxes on the current Centaur and Delta upper stage.  This include an internal combustion engine, a battery, two not very large tanks to hold moderately compressed hydrogen and oxygen gas, inverters and control electronics, and various attitude control thrusters, and one or two settling thrusters.  Power for various functions is both electrical (300 volts) via an alternator/starter that also functions as a flywheel, and a mechanical takeoff from the crankshaft for pumps.   The system could support a much larger thruster and propellant pumps for maneuvers that don't require the full power of a RL10 engine.

About the only thing IVF lacks are horns, headlights and windshield wipers.  Perhaps these are options, too.  Consult your ULA dealer.


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