Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air-Breathing Rocket Engine Tests Successfully Completed

Date:
November 9, 1998
Source:
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Summary:
NASA has successfully completed two years of testing radical, new rocket engines that could change the future of space travel. NASA and its industry partners have ground tested rocket engines that "breathe" oxygen from the air.

NASA has successfully completed two years of testing radical, new rocket engines that could change the future of space travel. NASA and its industry partners have ground tested rocket engines that "breathe" oxygen from the air.

"Air-breathing rocket engine technologies have the potential of opening the space frontier to ordinary folks," said Uwe Hueter of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "We've proven the technologies on the ground with extensive testing of complex and technically challenging system components. Now, I believe we're ready to demonstrate the technologies in flight."

Air-breathing rocket engines could make future space travel like today's air travel, said Hueter, manager of NASA's Advanced Reusable Technologies project. The spacecraft would be completely reusable, take off and land at airport runways, and be ready to fly again within days.

An air-breathing rocket engine inhales oxygen from the air for about half the flight, so it doesn't have to store the gas onboard. So at take-off, an air-breathing rocket weighs much less than a conventional rocket, which carries all of its fuel and oxygen onboard. Getting off the ground is the most expensive part of any mission to low-Earth orbit, and reducing a vehicle's weight decreases cost significantly.

An air-breathing engine (called a rocket-based, combined cycle engine) gets its initial take-off power from specially designed rockets, called air-augmented rockets, that boost performance about 15 percent over conventional rockets. When the vehicle's velocity reaches twice the speed of sound, the rockets are turned off and the engine relies totally on oxygen in the atmosphere to burn the hydrogen fuel. Once the vehicle's speed increases to about 10 times the speed of sound, the engine converts to a conventional rocket-powered system to propel the vehicle into orbit.

This unconventional approach to getting to space is one of the technologies NASA's Advanced Space Transportation Program at the Marshall Center is developing to make space transportation affordable for everyone from business travelers to tourists. NASA's goal is to reduce launch costs from today's price tag of $10,000 per pound to only hundreds of dollars per pound.

GASL, a small aerospace company in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., has conducted most of the air-breathing rocket engine testing at its facilities on Long Island. GASL's unique facility is capable of testing across a wide range of speeds and modes the rocket engine must achieve in flight.

NASA's industry partners in developing air-breathing rocket technologies are: Aerojet Corp. of Sacramento, Calif.; Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif.; Astrox Corp. of Rockville, Md.; Pennsylvania State University of University Park; and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

- end -

Note to Editors: Interviews, photos and video supporting this release are available to media representatives by contacting June Malone, Media Relations Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, (256) 544-0034. For an electronic version of this release, photos, QuickTime movie or more information, visit Marshall's new Virtual NewsRoom: http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/news

For more information on the Advanced Space Transportation Program, visit its Web site: http://stp.msfc.nasa.gov


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "Air-Breathing Rocket Engine Tests Successfully Completed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981109083144.htm>.
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. (1998, November 9). Air-Breathing Rocket Engine Tests Successfully Completed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981109083144.htm
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "Air-Breathing Rocket Engine Tests Successfully Completed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981109083144.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins