Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: Boeing / Rocketdyne
Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 266.7 kN. Design 2004. Isp=467s. Mitsubishi / Boeing joint project for an engine for Delta IV cryogenic upper stages. Expander bleed, pump-fed.

Boeing's Rocketdyne Division (USA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan) had announced on 14 February 2000 their agreement to jointly design and develop the MB-XX family of high-power cryogenic upper-stage engines for Boeing's Delta-4 and Japan's H-2A launch vehicles. In 2005 the MB-XX was being demonstrated on funding from Boeing and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for potential application to the Vision for Space Exploration launch vehicle or upgrades to today's EELVs.

Engine: 591 kg (1,302 lb).

AKA: MB-XX; RS-73.
Status: Design 2004.
Unfuelled mass: 591 kg (1,302 lb).
Height: 3.30 m (10.80 ft).
Thrust: 266.70 kN (59,957 lbf).
Specific impulse: 467 s.
First Launch: 1999.

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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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