Encyclopedia Astronautica

Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 289.1 kN. Design. Isp=470s. Upper stage engine to have been developed by Pratt and Whitney with several international partners. Same dimensions as the RL-10, but over twice the thrust.

The RL-60 was a new upper stage engine under development by Pratt and Whitney in collaboration with several international partners.. In 2001 it was reported that Pratt & Whitney had teamed with Volvo to develop the engine. With approximately the same dimensions as the RL-10, but over twice the thrust, the new engine could be used for many of the same applications. In 2003 it was reported that development reached a milestone with the arrival from Japan's Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries of the first main liquid hydrogen turbopump. Sixty percent of the components of the 60,000lb thrust RL-60 were then said to be completed. The RL-60 development team is based in West Palm Beach, Florida

Engine: 499 kg (1,100 lb).

Status: Design.
Unfuelled mass: 499 kg (1,100 lb).
Thrust: 289.10 kN (64,992 lbf).
Specific impulse: 470 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...

  • Pratt & Whitney Home Page, Web Address when accessed: here.

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