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Acceptance Testing On Second R-4D Development Engine Completed

NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle.
by Staff Writers
Sacramento CA (SPX) Nov 04, 2010
Aerojet, in conjunction with Lockheed Martin and NASA, successfully completed acceptance testing on the second R-4D development engine.

The R-4D is the Aerojet engine that will be used on NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle for the service module auxiliary propulsion. Eight R-4D engines, arranged in four pods of two each, will provide thrust for critical Orion maneuvers.

The R-4D acceptance testing was a critical milestone in the Orion Service Module Auxiliary Propulsion Program. Completion of this testing demonstrates incremental progress and opens the way for the next phase of development testing.

This testing achieved several firsts for the program including

+ flight design bimetallic (Columbium-Titanium) nozzle;

+ flight design valves (120V and 72.25 ohm coils);

+ flight-like pressure transducer;

+ validation of Orion-specific fabrication and test processes;

+ verification of Orion-specific tooling and special test equipment;

+ and demonstration of new processes that include the Aerojet Electric Discharge Machined (EDM) R-4D -11 injector.

"It was very gratifying to see the fruits of a three-year design effort come together in a very successful engine test. It was a flawless demonstration of engineering and manufacturing expertise," said Aerojet Orion Program Manager Scott Jennings.

Aerojet supplies the complete engine complement for the Orion Service Module including: 16 25-pound-thrust engines arranged in four pods providing RCS capability, eight 100-pound-thrust bipropellant engines arranged in four pods providing auxiliary axial thrust for system maneuvers and a 7,500-pound-thrust Orion main engine providing axial thrust for major position changes and deorbit.

Additionally, Aerojet will supply 12 160-pound-thrust monopropellant engines for the Orion crew module reaction control system and the jettison motor that provides thrust needed to separate the launch abort system from the crew module in either a nominal or aborted launch scenario.

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