From: Beal Aerospace
Posted: Saturday, March 4, 2000
Today's test was the third firing of the engine. Beal engineers completed 30 seconds of testing on the engine in two previous tests in preparation for today's firing. The engine consumes almost 3,000 pounds of propellants per second of operation and generates the equivalent of 6.7 million horsepower.
A new thrust chamber was fitted for today's tests. The chamber used in the previous two tests is undergoing analysis at Beal's engineering and assembly facility in Frisco, Texas, near Dallas, and will return to the stand for future tests.
"This is a remarkable achievement for our program," said company founder and CEO Andrew Beal. "Our program started small in 1997, with a vision to build a more reliable, more economic means to space for the international satellite community. After a steady stream of successes in our engine development and composite-tank programs, we're beginning to generate a lot of attention. Building the largest liquid engine in 30 years is an extraordinary achievement – particularly for a private company." The engine marks several milestones in the aerospace community:
Beal's McGregor facility features two additional test stands: a vertical-fire test stand for smaller engines, and a 220-feet tall vertical-fire stand, currently under construction, for larger engines. The McGregor test facility also houses a five-ton-per-day hydrogen peroxide concentrator, designed and built by company engineers. Headquartered in Frisco, Texas, near Dallas, Beal Aerospace designs, is building and will launch heavy-lift vehicles for the international satellite community.
The BA-2 is a heavy-lift, three-stage launcher that stands 236 feet tall. The vehicle has the capacity to lift approximately 13,200 pounds to GTO and 37,400 pounds to LEO.
It has a diameter of 20.4 feet and a payload fairing that is considered huge by industry standards. The large payload fairing even allows side-by-side placement of larger satellite payloads. The vehicle employs one centerline engine per stage.
Stages 1 and 2 utilize liquid injection (LITVC) for steering and stage 3 has a gimbaled engine with the ability for multiple restart. Reusable technologies will be utilized for primary stage recoveries at sea.
The BA-2 uses hydrogen peroxide and standard aviation fuel as propellants, providing tremendous environmental advantages. Propellant is fed to Beal Aerospace Technologies-built engines using helium pressure. This reliable pressure-fed technique negates the use of costly and complicated turbo pumps.
Propellant tanks are composite filament-wound structures, making them very lightweight, durable and strong. Beal operates one of the world's largest filament winding machines at its facility in Frisco, Texas.
The BA-2 has a restarting third stage, which enables multiple satellite deployments, Hohmann transfer orbit injections, and GTO targeted Earth-escape missions. For GTO and Earth escape missions, a 200 km circular orbit is used as a parking/phasing orbit. Hohmann transfer missions use an elliptic parking orbit where the perigee is 200 km and the apogee is the final orbit altitude. Upon reaching apogee, a second burn is executed to circularize the orbit.
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