A new type of rocket engine that will propel the X-33 experimental launch vehicle was tested to full power for the first time Dec. 18.
The 18-second test of the XRS-2200 Linear Aerospike Engine was conducted on the A-1 test facility at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi.
Initial test data indicates satisfactory engine performance throughout the test. After the test, visual inspection showed some minor pinhole-sized erosion isolated to the interior wall of one of the engine's 20 thrust cells. The erosion was within the normal range for development testing and will not preclude further testing. This was the last planned test for 1999. Engine testing is scheduled to resume next year.
The XRS-2200 Linear Aerospike Engine was developed and assembled by Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power in Canoga Park, Calif.
The engine will power the X-33, a half-scale, sub-orbital technology demonstrator of a proposed, commercially-developed, reusable launch vehicle called VenturStarTM. The X-33 is being developed under a cooperative agreement between NASA and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, Calif. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the X-33 program for NASA.
"The Stennis and Boeing/Rocketdyne test team have done an outstanding job, and I'm extremely pleased in achieving this critical milestone of the first-full power test," said NASA's Pat Mooney, X-33 project manager at Stennis Space Center.
Once testing of the first engine has been successfully completed, two flight engines will be tested. After successful flight acceptance test of the engines, the two flight engines will be shipped to Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale to be mounted on the X-33 vehicle.
Note to Editors / News Directors: Interviews supporting this release are available to media representatives by contacting Dave Drachlis of the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034. For an electronic version of this release, digital images or more information, visit Marshall's News Center on the Web at: http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/news
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