Encyclopedia Astronautica

Aerojet lox/lh2 rocket engine. 280 kN. Design 2000. Isp=470s. Design announced on 3 October 2000 for a new cryogenic upper-stage engine aimed at the very large commercial spacecraft market.

Aerojet (USA) announced plans on 3 October 2000 to develop a new cryogenic upper-stage engine, the AJ-60C, aimed at the very large commercial spacecraft market that is expected to develop. The engine, which could be ready for operational use by 2005 according to Aerojet, would produce 245-280 kN of thrust at a specific impulse of 470 seconds for total run times of 4,000 seconds. It would be throttlable to 25% of maximum thrust and capable of up to 25 restarts. Used in a new upper stage for the Delta-4, Atlas-5, or Ariane-5, it would enable the launch of payloads weighing 11,000 kg into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Throttled thrust(vac): 245.000 kN (55,078 lbf). Restarts: 25.

Status: Design 2000.
Thrust: 280.00 kN (62,940 lbf).
Specific impulse: 470 s.
Burn time: 4,000 s.

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Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Aerojet American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Aerojet, Sacramento, CA, USA. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...

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