SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- A giant step toward production of large hybrid rocket engines has been taken by United Technology Center, with initiation of work on a $1,027,000 contract to demonstrate the hybrids' technical feasibility.
SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- A giant step toward production of large hybrid rocket engines has been taken by United Technology Center, with initiation of work on a $1,027,000 contract to demonstrate the hybrids' technical feasibility. The contract was awarded by the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base.
The 12-month program will involve the static test-firing of hybrid engines of up to 40,600 pounds of thrust -- the largest of their kind yet tested. Hybrid rocketry combines both liquid and solid chemical propellants in a single engine and offers the potential of providing the advantages of economy, performance, reliability, and safety over present all-solid and all-liquid engines.
The program is expected to furnish data and technology which would permit the scale-up fabrication and testing of a 200,000-pound-thrust engine. Computer data which the program will develop would permit design scale-up for engines in the 1-million-pound-thrust class and greater.
Under the contract, UTC will design, manufacture, test, and analyze nine 18- and 36-inch-diameter engines. The static testing will be conducted at UTC's Coyote, Calif., test and production center.
UTC, a division of United Aircraft Corporation, is engaged in research, development, and production of rockets, liquid and solid propellants, and advanced propulsion systems.
SYNOPSIS: The hybrid rocket engine .. a relatively new type of rocket propulsion .. seems destined to assume an equal role with solid and liquid rockets in this country's conquest of space. The hybrid engine has a combustion chamber similar to a solid propellant rocket .. and a pressurized liquid oxidizer tank like those found in liquid engines. The successful combining of these features unites the simplicity and reliability of solids with the controllable thrust of liquids. Today a California aerospace firm revealed that it is preparing to ground-test the nation's most powerful hybrid rocket engine .. a 3-foot thick, segmented motor which will produce over 40,000 pounds of thrust. Officials of United Technology Center .. whose company is conducting the test for the Air Force .. said that the knowledge gained from this test may lead to the test-firing of a huge 200,000-pound-thrust hybrid engine. Recent hybrid technology advances have centered on a new mechanical technique to increase combustion .. the secret of getting the most thrust per pound of propellant. Hybrid rockets .. shown here being tested in smaller sizes at UTC .. have been under development for more than five years. UTC scientists now predict hybrids will be providing the rocket power for a wide variety of space missions before the end of this decade.