Headlines > News > Aerojet Delivers USET Liquid Hydrogen Turbopump to AFRL

Aerojet Delivers USET Liquid Hydrogen Turbopump to AFRL

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:22 am via: Aerojet
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced today that under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Propulsion Research Directorate, the company has developed critical technologies for rocket propulsion applications through the Upper Stage Engine Technologies (USET) program.

The USET program supports the Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT) Phase II Propellant Management Devices (PMD) and the Combustion and Energy Conversion Devices (C&ECD) technology areas for Boost & Orbit Transfer Propulsion.

The program has developed computational capabilities and tools to validate and advance state-of-the-art turbopump rotating machinery for future upper-stage advanced cryogenic, liquid oxygen and hydrogen engines as well as for other engines. Florida Turbine Technologies, located in Jupiter, Fla., provided technical and fabrication support.

To support IHPRPT goals, the USET program has incorporated several technologies which will improve upper-stage engine developments methods and designs. These technologies have been incorporated into a liquid hydrogen, lightweight and high-speed turbopump delivered to AFRL. The primary program goal to develop advanced computational tools and methods to improve the capability to develop advanced 40K class upper-stage engines for the USAF was completed in 2007 and anchored through hydrogen-scaled water rig tests. The USET turbopump is designed to rotate at 90,000 rpm which is approximately two and one half times faster than the Space Shuttles Main Engines (SSME) high-pressure hydrogen turbopump while generating the equivalent stage pressure rise. The USET hydrogen turbopump is roughly the size of a swimming pool pump and could drain the average-size swimming pool in 12 minutes, if water was to replace the liquid hydrogen fuel.

The USET hydrogen turbopump is configured with more than 246 strain, acceleration, displacement, pressure and temperature instruments designed to measure the internal operational characteristic of the turbopump and utilized to ‘validate’ the computational tool set developed on the program.

“Aerojet is very pleased to have been chosen to contribute our rotating machinery heritage and analytical competencies along with our subcontractor, Florida Turbine Technologies,” said Vice President of Space and Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. “We are prepared to meet our Air Force customers’ ultimate goal of developing the technology for existing and future systems to reduce launch costs, while increasing payload orbit reliability.”The USET turbopump integration and testing will take place in AFRL’s 2A test facility. Hydrogen testing is scheduled to extend into GFY 2011.

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