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Development of LOX-Hydrogen Engines for the Saturn Apollo Launch Vehicles

Development of LOX-Hydrogen Engines for the Saturn Apollo Launch Vehicles

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ENGI
NE
PROGRAM OFFICE
SATURN
HISTORY
DOCUMENT
University
of
Alebema
Research
Institute
Hiet~ry
f:
Science
G.
Technology
Groilp
Date
--------
--
Doc.
No.
----,
,,
DEVELOPMENT OF LOX-YYDROGEN ENGI NES FORTHE
SATURN
APOLLO LAUNCH VEHICLES
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
 
DEVELOPMENT OF LOX-HYDROGEN ENGINES FORTHE SATURN APOLLO
LAUNCH
VEHICLESA.
J.
'Burks, Assistant ManagerEngine Program OfficeNational Aeronautics
&
Space AdministrationMarshall Space Flight Center, Alabama35812AbstractDuring the development of the
RL-10
and
5-2
engines, many problems were encountered. Sol-utions to the significant problems are contained.
A
description of these LOX-Hydrogen engines.outlining the unique features of each
will
be given.Performance parameters for both engine systemsare tabulated.Specific applications to variousstages are shown.Start and restart conditions ataltitude are a very important adjunct to the enginedevelopment and are presented in the paper.Test-ing an enqine designed to operate at altitude atambient sea level conditions presented some inter-esting problems and required peculiar test equip-ment. The solution tothe.se problems and a des-cription of the test equipment will be covered.Flight data revealed some anomalies that werelater verified at the altitude test facility at ArnoldEngineering Development Center, Tullahoma,Tennessee.
A
description of the anomalies andverification testing will be made.IntroductionThe nature of propulsion system development
is
such that it becomes the pacing item in a newvehicle program.This has been true in aircraftas well as missile programs.The extensive test-ing, design, redesign, and retest have shourn thatpropulsion systems generally must lead by severalyears in the development cycle.This necessitatesthe initiation of an engine development programprior to the detail design of the vehicle. This pre-
\
sents the obvious problems of interface, powerrequirement definition, control system relation-ships, etc.
.
which must be again evaluated as thevehicl_e design is finalized.Engine redesign orcompromises usually result from these iterations.Once the technical need has been establishedfor the developinent of a new propulsion systemand the economics
of
the system have been evalu-
.
ated, then tge design trade-offs begin.Vehicle
.
-
rcquirelllents wl~ichnclude such basic factors asstaging, payload u~eight,mission flexibility? and
'
reliability must be fed Sack into the basic engine
:
design
as
the system evolves.Wherever possible,engines are designed to be utilized in more thanone stage. Following this philosophy the RL-10engine found use on two different vehicles andthe
J-2
engine is utilized on three stages of twovehicles.
.
This :'common engine" approach allows thecontractor to concentrate on one design, 'resultsin higher reliability due to repetitive testing of
a
single configuration, and reduces production costssince the engines can be bought in larger quanti-ties.
A
common engine configuration also simpli-fies the spare parts and field support requirements.and permits interchangeability of basic components.Thus new engine development programs areoptimized by a meld of the practical use of the besttechnology available within the cohstraints involvedand a vigorous trade-off of the performance param-eters. The choice of expansion ratio, for example,was one not only of performance, but of the eco-nomics involved in building the test facilities re-quired for engine development.The RL-10, beinga smaller engine,. could use a higher expansionratio (and thus take advantage of the higher specificimpulse) because it was practical to build steamejectors and diffusers for engines
in
this size range.Such a choice for the J-2 engine would have beenprohibitive from the stancipoint of cost due to thesize of the facilities involved. Hence, one of thereasons
a
27. 5/1
expansion ratio, was chosen for the
!
5-2 engine was to accommodate testing at sea levelconditions.The guiding philosophy of the NASA-MarshallSpace Flight Center in developing engines is toschedule a detailed component testfol-lo-ved by an in-depth engine test program to ferretout as many latent hardware defects as possiblebefore flight testing.
A
vigorous production sup-port program is maintained concurrent with thedevelopment phase and He improvenlents areincorporated into the embryonic design as soon aspractioal. This plan has worked successfully bc-cause it continues to challenge the best technicalminds to reach out "over the horizon" for betterideas which have resulted in continual payloadincreases for NASA's launch vehicles.This pro-duction support effort has been the backbone forresolving the problems resulting from engine- stageintegration and testing. This process continuesas long as vehicles using the engines are flying.The feedback of production and flight problems intothe engine programs is an essential element in
.
deriving a reliable system, and also serves the co-function of allowing the engine design, testing, andmanufacturing procedures to catch up with the stateof the art.
 
9
,
.
Part
I:
Development of the RL-10 EngineThe Apollo Program was conceived with theidea that a design evolution would be required be-fore the large vehicle suitable for manned lunarlanding could become
a
reality.
The
planned evo-lution was from the Saturn
I
to the Saturn IB, andfinally to the Saturn
V.
Since the liquid oxygen(LOX)-liquid hydrogen (LH2) RL-10 engine was al-readyio development on the Centaur programwhen the Saturn
1
program was started, an up-rated version (LR-11T) was chosen for the highperformance upper stage propulsion. The opti-mistic development program for the LR-119 iailedto materialize and coupled wit!, major difficulties
in
the RL-10 development program resulted in aprogram redirection. A common version of theRL-10 engine was defined to meet the require-ments of both the Centaur and Saturn
I
programsand ~llowedhe contractor to concentrate on onedevelopment program.
-
..
An all cryogenic propellant system of liquidhydrogen and liquid oxygen was chosen because ofthe high specific impulse attainable.~ajArreak-throughs in liquid hydrogen technology made bothpropellants readily available and relatively inex-pensive.In addition these propellants are non-toxic and give stable combustion.The
RL-
10 engine was successfully used onthe Surveyor Program in an Atlas-Centaur vehicle(Figure 1) to boost the payload to a lunar landing.It was
also
used in the Saturn
I
vehicle (Figure 2)
,
to place three Pegasus meteoroid technology sat-ellites into orbit.Figure 1.Atlas Centaur Enginelstage ~~~lication
In
the Saturn
1
program the RL-
1D
engine be-came an
_excellent
test-bed for Apollo hardwaredevelopment.The S-IV stage-of the Saturn
I
wasa forerunner of the S-IVB stage in the Saturn IBand V vehicles. Likewise, experience gained indeveloping the S-IV and Centaur stages was uti-lized in designing the Saturn
V
S-I1 stage.
9
Figure 2.Saturn
I
Engineis-1V Stage ApplicationDescription-The RL-10 engine utilizes
a
regenerativelycooled thrust chamber and
a
turbopu.mp-fed propel-lant flow system. Due to its high heat capacity,the liquid hydrogen very effectivcly cools the thrustchamber. While passing through the thrust cham-ber tubes, the hydrogen picks up heat and is ex-panded
in
a two-stage turbine to drive a singlegearcd turbopump.The fuel is then injected into
the
combustion chamber.This "topping" cycleprovides a performance gain of approximately 112
-
-.
to
1
percent over that of a conventional gas genera-tor type cycle. Oxidizer is pumped directly to thepropellant injector through the mixture ratio con-trol valve.Thrust. control is achicved by regu-lating the amount of fuel bypassed around the tur-bine as a function of combustion chamber pressurein order to vary turbopump speed and thereby con-trol engine thrust. Ignition is accomplished bymeans of an electric spark-torch igniter recessedin the propellant injector face. Starting and stop-ping are controlled by pneumatic valves which re-ceive their supply of helium through electricallyoperated valves. Major parameters of theRL-10engine are depicted in Figure
3.
Figure
3.
RL-10 Engine Major Paramctcrs

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