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XCOR Aerospace Begins Test Firing Of Methane Rocket Engine

XCOR's new 40K test-stand with running 5M15 rocket engine
by Staff Writers
Mojave CA (SPX) Jan 17, 2007
XCOR Aerospace has completed a series of successful test firings of its new 7,500 pound thrust rocket engine. The tests were conducted as part of a $3.3 million subcontract XCOR has with Alliant Techsystems. The tests support NASA's advanced development program to obtain liquid methane rocket engine technology for future space applications. Six short-duration test fires have been completed.

The engine, designated 5M15, uses liquid methane and liquid oxygen as propellants. XCOR and ATK are developing the initial workhorse version of the 7,500 lbf LOX/methane engine for NASA. This regeneratively-cooled version of the rocket engine will also be built and tested in 2007 as part of the contract.

ATK will use the workhorse engine as a basis for the design of the prototype version of the engine that will be closer to flight weight.

"This was a great first firing," said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. "Everything worked incredibly well. The crew put in long days and nights to get the engine and new test stand ready for today, and the results were outstanding. I could not have expected it to come out any better."

The first version of this rocket engine uses a heat-sink throat without any cooling system. Tests on this first version of the engine will characterize engine performance. The results will be used to determine the appropriate length of the rocket engine chamber for the flight-weight version.

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Research Continues For Deep Space Travel Propulsion
Huntsville AL (SPX) Jan 16, 2007
Graduate students and faculty researchers at The University of Alabama in Huntsville are investigating propulsion concepts that could eventually revolutionize deep space travel. The Plasmoid Thruster Experiment (PTX) is a stepping stone to a highly efficient propulsion concept which could ultimately change how we travel in space, according to Dr. Jason Cassibry, a researcher in UAH's Propulsion Research Center.







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