18 May 2001
18 May 2001
A rocket nozzle for the Boeing RS-68 engine developed by Thiokol Propulsion Corp, has successfully completed a series of static tests conducted by Boeing at the NASA Stennis Space Center, Miss., and the Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The tests culminated with a 303-second firing at mixed power levels and a 300-second test at full power for 20 percent longer than is required during flight.
The RS-68 is the largest liquid-oxygen and liquid-hydrogen engine in the world and the first new rocket engine designed in the U.S. since the Space Shuttle main engine. The engine was designed by Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power and will provide first-stage propulsion for the Boeing Delta IV launch vehicle, scheduled for its maiden voyage in 2002. Thiokol's RS-68 nozzle is constructed of composite phenolic materials exposed to gas temperatures in excess of 6,000 degrees F. Each test evaluated the performance and overall dynamic response in this severe environment. Four nozzle test firings are planned over the next several months as part of the flight certification program