Encyclopedia Astronautica

XCOR Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 6.670 kN. First stages. Hardware. Built for the Rocket Racing League's first X-Racer. The rocket engine was sized for the best compromise between acceleration and endurance.

The 4K14 was built specifically for the Rocket Racing League's first X-Racer. The rocket engine was sized for the best compromise between acceleration and endurance for the airframe that was used with the engine.

XCOR's proprietary fuel pump demonstrated the ability to pump from unpressurized wing tanks, which improved air vehicle performance significantly compared to a pressure-fed system. Conventional rocket pumps required relatively high tank pressures (4-7 bar) to force the propellant into the pump. XCOR's piston pump design was able to draw propellant at a much lower inlet pressure, with no fuel tank pressurization system required.

The 4K14 engine used a regulated helium pressurization system for the LOX tank that was very similar to that on the EZ-Rocket.

Application: First stages.

Status: Hardware.
Thrust: 6.67 kN (1,499 lbf).
First Launch: 2006-2008.

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Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene 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. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

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