Jim Cast Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

(Phone: 202/453-8536)

August 22, 1990

Jerry Berg Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. (Phone: 205/544-0034) RELEASE: 90-113 ADVANCED LAUNCH SYSTEM ROCKET ENGINE DEFINED A government-industry board has completed a key milestone with its decision defining the type of rocket engine which will be designed and built to power the NASA/U.S. Air Force Advanced Launch System (ALS). The two candidates were the gas generator power cycle, similar to the J-2 engine employed on the second and third stages of the Saturn moon rockets, and the closed expander power cycle, similar to the RL-10 engine used in the Saturn I and the Centaur upper stage. The decision went to the gas generator cycle. The selection by the ALS Space Transportation Main Engine cycle selection board was based on work accomplished in two phases. First, three ALS engine contractors performed studies defining and evaluating candidate designs. Then, they reported to a joint government-industry engine cycle technical assessment team and joint senior review board. Those panels chose the most promising design features for the engine from reports submitted by the three contractors, providing a comparable basis on which to make the engine cycle decision. The Advanced Launch System program will provide, by the year 2000, a dependable, reliable, high-capacity national launch capability. It is planned as a family of launch vehicles capable of delivering a wide range of payloads into low Earth orbit with

an order-of-magnitude cost reduction from today's launch costs. In support of these ALS objectives, the board's decision was based on factors such as production cost, reliability, producibility, operations, size, development effort, risk and performance. - more -2The gas-generator type of engine has been widely used since early in the history of liquid-fueled rocket development and has benefitted from many technology advances over the years. Its basic elements are: o A combustion chamber which generates the engine's thrust by exhausting combustion gases at high velocity through the nozzle. o Two turbopumps, which take liquid fuel and liquid oxidizer from tanks at rather low pressure, feed the fuel through cooling circuits, and inject both propellants into the combustion chamber at high pressure. o Turbines, powered by hot gas, to spin the turbopumps. o A gas-generator device to provide the hot gas to the turbine(s). It generates gas by the combustion of a small quantity of liquid fuel and oxidizer, diverted from the main flow. Definition studies of the Space Transportation Main Engine have determined that such an engine can be developed within the parameters established for the ALS. It will use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants, be approximately 7 feet in diameter and 12.5 feet long, and weigh about 7,000 pounds. Supplying approximately 600,000 pounds of thrust, it will power the ALS core stage and the launch system's booster stage. The Space Transportation Main Engine selection board consists of top managers from NASA's Lewis Research Center, Cleveland; the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.; the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Tex.; and the Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Miss.; representatives of the Air

Force/NASA ALS Joint Program Office; and the presidents and chief operating officers of the three contractors currently conducting definition studies for the engine. The 12-member board is chaired by Marshall Space Flight Center Director Jack Lee. The engine definition contractors are Aerojet, the aerospace segment of GenCorp; United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney; and the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International. They are working under parallel competitive study contracts and have agreed to pursue the formation of a teaming arrangement, which will reduce the cost and risks of the ALS engine development program. The studies show both engine cycles would provide essentially the same projected cost and reliability, while on many of the detailed points of comparison, the gas generator was favored. - more -3-

The selection of a gas-generator cycle engine, explained Board Chairman Lee, will pose a lower development risk than the closed expander engine cycle. "That advantage will give us more freedom to concentrate on achieving optimum reliability, producibility and production cost, rather than overcoming development obstacles," Lee said. Future work on the Space Transportation Main Engine will include preliminary design beginning this fall, detailed design, fabrication, and test of major engine components, and a prototype engine program scheduled to begin in 1992. - end NASA news releases and other information are available electronically on CompuServe and GEnie, the General Electric Network for Information Exchange. For information on CompuServe, call 1-800/848-8199 and ask for representative 176. For information on GEnie, call 1-800/638-9636.

TO: MDS/PRA Group 1615 L Street, N.W. - Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20036 DATE & TIME: AUGUST 22, 1990 ORDERED BY: Edward Campion NASA Headquarters/LMD 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20546 PHONE: 202/453-8400 PROJECT TITLE: Release No: 90-113 PRINT ORDER: 2300 PRINTING: Camera Ready, lst pg on NASA logo, other pages plain

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