First Engine Assembled for DARPA and Boeing Reusable Experimental Spaceplane
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss.,
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR-22 engine, derived from the Space Shuttle Main Engine that was designed from the outset for reusability, is the main propulsion for Phantom Express.
“Phantom Express builds on our legacy of reusable space flight experience to provide the ability to quickly augment and replace on-orbit capabilities, which face an increasing array of threats from potential adversaries,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “Our immediate task is to demonstrate this rapid turnaround capability for this engine on the ground, paving the way for a demonstration program.”
The AR-22 engine is capable of generating about 375,000 pounds (170,097 kg) of thrust and was designed to fly 55 missions with service every 10 missions. This reusability feature makes the AR-22 ideally suited for Phantom Express.
The reusable Phantom Express spaceplane will take off vertically and land horizontally. The vehicle will be equipped with an expendable second stage capable of placing up to 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit.
“The aircraft-like operations of Phantom Express are an important factor in the rapid turnaround of this spaceplane,” said AR-22 Program Manager Jeff Haynes. “Additionally, the engine has a hinged nacelle that makes it easier to access and inspect the engines for rapid turnaround.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne assembled the AR-22 at its facility at NASA’s
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of
Photos accompanying this announcement are available at
Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc.