Encyclopedia Astronautica

Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 1100 kN. Development ended 2006. Integrated Powerhead Demonstrator, end goal was flight-rated, full-flow, hydrogen-fueled, staged combustion rocket engine in the 1.1-million-newton thrust class.

The Integrated Powerhead Demonstrator (IPD) was a joint venture between NASA and the Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technologies program, managed for DoD by the AFRL at EAFB. This project was the first phase of a full-scale effort to develop a flight-rated, full-flow, hydrogen-fueled, staged combustion rocket engine in the 1.1-million-newton thrust class. The IPD would employ dual preburners that provide both oxygen-rich and hydrogen-rich staged combustion. Such combustion was expected to keep engines cool during flight, achieve high system efficiency, and reduce exhaust emissions. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne was developing the liquid-hydrogen fuel turbopump and the demonstrator's oxygen pump, main injector, and main combustion chamber. Aerojet Corporation of Sacramento, California, designed and tested the oxidizer preburner, which initiates the combustion process with oxygen-rich steam. Aerojet also was responsible for development of the demonstrator engine's fuel preburner, designed to supply the fuel turbopump's turbine with hot, hydrogen-rich steam. Boeing-Rocketdyne would lead overall system integration once component-level development and testing were complete. The IPD underwent integrated testing at Stennis Space Center from late 2004 through September 2005, and in April 2005 NASA announced that it was successfully fired during an initial full-duration test.

Status: Development ended 2006.
Thrust: 1,100.00 kN (247,200 lbf).
First Launch: 2001-.

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  • 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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