Encyclopedia Astronautica

RS-2200 engine test
Credit: Boeing
Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 2201 kN. Development cancelled 1999. Isp=455s. Linear Aerospike Engine developed for use on the Lockheed Reusable Launch Vehicle, the production follow-on to the X-33.

The RS-2200 Linear Aerospike Engine is being developed for use on the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' Reusable Launch Vehicle, the production follow-on to the X-33. The Aerospike allows the smallest, lowest cost RLV to be developed because the engine fills the base, reducing base drag, and is integral to the vehicle, reducing installed weight when compared to a bell-shaped engine. The. Aerospike is the same as bell shaped rocket engines except that its nozzle is open to the atmosphere. The open plume compensates for decreasing atmospheric pressure as the vehicle ascends, keeping the engine's performance very high along the entire trajectory. This altitude compensating feature allows a simple, low-risk gas generator cycle to be. used. Over $500 million were invested in Aerospike engines up to the contract award date of the X-33, and full size linear engines have accumulated 73 tests and over 4,000 seconds of operation. Throttling, Percent Thrust: 20-109. Dimensions: Forward End: 6.4 m wide X 2.36 m long. Aft End: 2.36 m wide X 2.36 m long. Length: 4.32 m. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed.

Thrust (sl): 1,917.200 kN (431,004 lbf). Thrust (sl): 195,500 kgf. Chamber Pressure: 153.00 bar. Area Ratio: 173. Oxidizer to Fuel Ratio: 6.

Status: Development cancelled 1999.
Height: 4.32 m (14.17 ft).
Diameter: 6.40 m (20.90 ft).
Thrust: 2,201.00 kN (494,804 lbf).
Specific impulse: 455 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 347 s.
First Launch: 1998.

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Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • X-33 American winged rocketplane. NASA-sponsored suborbital unmanned prototype for a single-stage-to-orbit rocketplane. The Lockheed Martin vehicle would have used a linear aerospike engine, metallic insulation, and other features similar to their Starclipper shuttle proposal of 1971. In 1999 catastrophic failure of the composite fuel tank during static test brought into question the technical feasiblity of the design. The program was cancelled in 2001 before any flight articles were completed and after over $1.2 billion had been expended. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
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...

Associated Stages
  • Venturestar Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 991,000/89,300 kg. Thrust 15,413.89 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 455 seconds. More...

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