Encyclopedia Astronautica

Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 100.488 kN. Kistler proposal. Design 1992. Isp=398s. Throttleable to 30% of thrust, sea level version of RL10 with extendable nozzle for high altitude operation.

The RL-10A-5KA was proposed for use on the Kistler K-1 vehicle but was not selected.

Application: Kistler proposal.


Thrust (sl): 88.926 kN (19,991 lbf). Thrust (sl): 9,068 kgf. Engine: 145 kg (319 lb). Chamber Pressure: 40.81 bar. Area Ratio: 8.2. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 70.66. Oxidizer to Fuel Ratio: 6.

Status: Design 1992.
Unfuelled mass: 145 kg (319 lb).
Height: 1.19 m (3.92 ft).
Diameter: 1.02 m (3.33 ft).
Thrust: 100.49 kN (22,591 lbf).
Specific impulse: 398 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 352 s.

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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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