Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has taken a major step toward powering the nation's next-generation space launch vehicle with the completion of the J-2X engine Critical Design Review (CDR). Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. company.
Starting in 2014, the J-2X rocket engine will power the Ares I rocket into space, helping deliver the Orion crew exploration vehicle, its crew of astronauts and small payloads to the International Space Station. The J-2X will also power launch vehicles to the moon and beyond in coming decades. The heart of the J-2X is proven heritage technology that propelled the Apollo-era Saturn V rockets into space.
"The successful completion of the Critical Design Review is a major milestone in the development of the J-2X -- one of the safest, most affordable and highest performing rocket engines ever to be built," said John Vilja, J-2X program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "It demonstrates our engineering design and development are on sound footing, and takes us another step closer to delivering the nation's next mode of space transportation."
The CDR was conducted in Huntsville, Ala., demonstrating the maturity of the J-2X's design and verifying the engine is ready to proceed to full-scale fabrication and assembly for initiation of development testing. It also allowed the project managers to determine if the technical approach was on track to meet mission performance requirements, including flight and ground systems development, and mission operations.
The first engine hot-fire test is scheduled for late summer 2010 at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.