Mark Hess/Ed Campion Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

(Phone: 202/453-8536) Mike Simmons Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. (Phone: 205/544-0034) Myron Webb Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Phone: 601/688-3341) RELEASE: 91-36

February 27, 1991

FIRST NEW SHUTTLE MAIN ENGINE TURBOPUMP TESTED Test personnel at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss., conducted a 1.5-second ignition test on a new turbopump developed by Pratt & Whitney for the Space Shuttle Main Engine. The test occurred Thursday, Feb. 21, on the B-1 test stand at Stennis. The firing signaled the first engine test of Pratt & Whitney's new Alternate Turbopump Development Program for NASA. The pump was tested on a research and development Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME). Pratt & Whitney's Alternate Turbopump Development Program has been underway since 1986. The company is now working in a partnership with Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International, Canoga Park, Calif., on the test program for the new pumps. NASA's Glenn Dill, resident manager of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Shuttle Project Office at Stennis, said the current SSME test program will continue to be conducted by Rocketdyne under NASA's management. Earl White, resident manager of the Pratt & Whitney office at Stennis, said another liquid oxygen pump and a highpressure fuel pump will soon arrive at Stennis for testing. White said that he expects to have enough pumps by June to occupy both the B-1 and A-1 test stands at Stennis. -more-

-2The pumps feature improvements in materials and in the fabrication process and take advantage of newer design technology. They differ from current SSME turbopumps in that they are manufactured using castings instead of sheet metal. This is expected to reduce maintenance and increase operational life of the pumps. Current Space Shuttle Main Engine hardware was designed in the early 1970s. Pratt & Whitney expects the new pumps to fly in 1993. Pratt & Whitney established a resident office at Stennis Space Center in October 1990 to support development testing of the newly-designed turbopumps. White now has a staff of six on board with anticipation of a 15- to 20-member staff by the end of the year. Pratt & Whitney's main test facility for government projects is in West Palm Beach, Fla. Stennis Space Center is NASA's facility for testing all Space Shuttle Main Engines that power the orbiter during its first 8 1/2 minutes of flight. - end -

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