Aerojet Rocketdyne conducts hot-fire tests in support of U.S. Air Force Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator program

May 26, 2015
SACRAMENTO, Calif., 26 May 2015. Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE:AJRD) has completed the first in a series of hot-fire tests on the sub-scale oxygen rich pre-burner in support of the U.S. Air Force Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator (HBTD) program.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., 26 May 2015.Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE:AJRD) has completed the first in a series of hot-fire tests on the sub-scale oxygen rich pre-burner in support of the U.S. Air Force Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator (HBTD) program.

Under the direction of Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) officials, Aerojet Rocketdyne staff are designing, developing, and testing the HBTD engine. Its technologies are directed at achieving the goals of the Rocket Propulsion for the 21st Century (RP21) program known as Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT).

"Throughout the sub-scale fabrication and facility checkouts, we've documented a number of lessons learned that have directly influenced the full-scale pre-burner design. We are looking forward to what more we will learn during the hot-fire test series," says Joe Burnett, program manager of the Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator program at Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Multiple injector configurations will be tested in the coming months to evaluate the performance and stability parameters that are critical for a high-performance, high-reliability liquid oxygen/kerosene rocket engine. The sub-scale test series will be used to aid the design and development of the full-scale pre-burner and engine development, officials explain. An oxygen-rich pre-burner is one of the enabling technologies of the Oxygen-Rich Staged Combustion (ORSC) cycle needed to provide high thrust-to-weight and performance regardless of hydrocarbon fuel type.

Designed to generate 250,000 pounds of thrust, the engine technology uses liquid oxygen and liquid kerosene (RP-2) in the first U.S.-developed demonstration of the ORSC cycle. It has been designed as a re-usable engine system, capable of powering up to 100 flights, and features high-performance long-life technologies and modern materials.

Burn-resistant, high-strength alloys manufactured using novel technologies will be used throughout the engine. Manufacturing parameters of some of the alloys have been developed under a joint effort with the Air Force, known as the Metals Affordability Initiative (MAI). These advanced technologies will be matured sufficiently throughout the program to support the next generation of expendable launch system development efforts. It also will help in the rapid turn-around usability for future re-usable launch systems. The data from this test effort will be used by other Air Force development programs such as the Advanced Liquid Rocket Engine Stability Tools program (ALREST) to further advance the state-of-the-art capabilities in combustion stability modeling.

Previously, Aerojet Rocketdyne designed and supplied the oxygen-rich and fuel-rich pre-burners for the Air Force's Integrated Powerhead Device (IPD) demonstration engine, the world's first full-flow staged combustion rocket engine. The design lessons learned and test approach from the IPD pre-burners have been leveraged for the HBTD pre-burner architecture.

Aerojet Rocketdyne provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets.

About the Author

Courtney E. Howard | Chief Editor, Intelligent Aerospace

Courtney enjoys writing about all things high-tech in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Intelligent Aerospace and Military & Aerospace Electronics. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics and space geek. Connect with Courtney at [email protected], @coho on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on Google+.

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