Encyclopedia Astronautica
Lox/LCH4


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 methane has been proposed as a propellant by the Russians.

Liquid oxygen, as normally supplied, is of 99.5 percent purity and is covered in the United States by Military Specification MIL-P-25508. High purity liquid oxygen has a light blue colour and is transparent. It has no characteristic odour. Liquid oxygen does not burn, but will support combustion vigorously. The liquid is stable; however, mixtures of fuel and liquid oxygen are shock-sensitive. Gaseous oxygen can form mixtures with fuel vapours that can be exploded by static electricity, electric spark, or flame. Liquid oxygen is obtained from air by fractional distillation. The 1959 United. States production of high-purity oxygen was estimated at nearly 2 million tonnes. The cost of liquid oxygen, at that time, ex-works, was $ 0.04 per kg. By the 1980's NASA was paying $ 0.08 per kg.

Oxidizer: Lox. Fuel: LCH4. Oxidizer Density: 1.140 g/cc. Oxidizer Freezing Point: -219 deg C. Oxidizer Boiling Point: -183 deg C. Fuel Density: 0.424 g/cc. Fuel Freezing Point: -184 deg C. Fuel Boiling Point: -162 deg C.

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Associated Spacecraft
  • CEV SM American manned spacecraft module. Study 2006. The Service Module of NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle provided basic consumables, control systems, and sufficient delta-V for return of the CEV from lunar orbit to the earth. More...
  • CEV American manned spacecraft. Study 2006. The Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) was NASA's planned manned spacecraft intended to carry human crews from Earth into space and back again from 2012 on. More...
  • LSAM American manned lunar lander. Study 2018. Lunar lander proposed by NASA in 2005 for their planned return to the moon by 2018. More...

Associated Engines
  • OPI Methane Engine Orion Propulsion Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 0.445 kN. Reaction control thruster for future manned spacecraft. Developed from 2001; tested 2005. More...
  • Orbitec Methane Engine Orbital Technologies Corporation Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 0.133 kN. Reaction control thruster. Tested 2005. Used vortex-cooled combustion process to eliminate combustion chamber heating. More...
  • RD-0120M-CH Kosberg Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 1720 kN. Design concept 1990's. Proposed variant of the RD-0120M engine using liquid methane instead of hydrogen as propellant. Isp=372s. More...
  • RD-0234-CH Kosberg Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 442 kN. Developed 1996-. Proposed variant of RD-0234 engine using LOX-liquid methane instead of N2O4/UDMH as propellants. Isp=343s. More...
  • RD-0256-Methane Kosberg Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 836 kN. Design concept 1996-. Proposed variant of RD-0256 engine using LOX-liquid methane instead of N2O4/UDMH as propellants. Isp=353s. More...
  • RD-0120-CH Kosberg Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 1576 kN. Design concept 1990's. Proposed variant of the RD-0120 engine using liquid methane instead of hydrogen as propellant. Isp=363s. More...
  • RD-190 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 1000 kN. Riksha-0 stage 1. Developed 1996-. The RD-190 consists of 6 RD-169 engines. Each chamber can be gimbaled individually in two planes by +/- 8 degree. Isp=351s. More...
  • RD-192.3 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 2089 kN. Developed 1996-on. Proposed variant of RD-192. Gas generator cycle. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes. Status 1998 was project based on RD-191 protoype, development estimated for four years. Isp=341s. More...
  • RD-192.2 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 1942 kN. Developed 1996-on. Isp=354s. Proposed variant of RD-192. Staged combustion cycle with fuel-rich gas generator. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes. More...
  • RD-169 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 167 kN. Riksha-0 stage 1. Design concept 1990's. Isp=351s. LOX/Methane engine derived from RD-120. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes. In 1996 prototype development was estimated to take four years from go-ahead. More...
  • RD-192 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 2138 kN. Isp=356s. Proposed methane-variant of RD-191. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes. In 1996 prototype development was estimated to take four years from go-ahead. Nozzle expansion ratio is 262/0.75=349. More...
  • RD-192S Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 2128 kN. Developed 1996-on. Isp=371s. Proposed variant of RD-192. Staged combustion cycle with oxidizer-rich gas generator. Gimbaling +/- 8 degree in two planes. More...
  • RD-184 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. Developed 1996-on. Isp=322s. Attitude correction engine for apogee stage of Riksha-1 launcher project (together with RD-183). Gimbaling +/- 20 degree in two planes. More...
  • RD-182 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 902 kN. Riksha (-1, -2) stage 1. Developed 1994-. Isp=353s. Methane variant of RD-120K engine. Thrust range and Isp range due to throat diameter and chamber pressure. Gimbaling +/- 6 degree in two planes. More...
  • RD-167 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 353 kN. Upper stage. Design concept 1990's. Isp=379s. Proposed upper stage engine, a methane variant of RD-134. Gimbaling +/- 3 degree in two planes. Four chambers with one common turbopump. More...
  • RD-160 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 19.6 kN. Upper stage. Developed 1993-1996. Isp=380s. Methane version of lox / kerosene upper stage engine RD-161. Gimbaling +/- 6 degree in two planes. More...
  • RD-183 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 9.8 kN. Developed 1996-. Isp=360s. Main engine for apogee stage of Riksha-1 launcher project. Gimbaling +/- 10 degree in two planes. Nozzle expansion ratio is 75/0.055=1364. More...
  • RD-185 Glushko Lox/LCH4 rocket engine. 179 kN. Riksha-0 stage 2. Developed 1996-. Isp=378s. Upper stage version of RD-169 with larger nozzle. Gimbaling +/- 4 degree in two planes. More...

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