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  Aerojet Rocketdyne's AR1 rocket engine

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Author Topic:   Aerojet Rocketdyne's AR1 rocket engine
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 37101
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-29-2016 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aerojet Rocketdyne release
Aerojet Rocketdyne, ULA Announce Public-Private Partnership With USAF to Develop RD-180 Replacement Engine

The U.S. Air Force selected Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to share in a public-private partnership to develop jointly the AR1 engine — an American-made rocket propulsion system.

The Air Force decision — coupled with a large internal investment in the AR1 engine — is a major step forward in ensuring that the U.S. has a domestically-built rocket engine to replace the Russian-built RD-180 engines currently used to launch many Pentagon payloads into orbit.

The total agreement is valued at $804 million with the U.S. Air Force investing two-thirds of the funding required to complete development of the AR1 engine by 2019.

"This award from the U.S. government demonstrates its support of AR1 and recognizes the priority of assured access to space for our critical national security assets," said Eileen Drake, CEO and President of Aerojet Rocketdyne. "The AR1 engine is the option with the least technical risk that allows the United States to quickly and efficiently transition off its use of Russian-supplied engines currently used on the Atlas V launch vehicle."

The work is expected to be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2019. The Air Force intends to initially obligate $115.3 million with Aerojet Rocketdyne and ULA contributing $57.7 million. The total potential government investment, including all options, is $536 million. The total potential investment by Aerojet Rocketdyne and its partners, including all options, is $268 million.

"AR1 will return the United States to the forefront of kerosene rocket propulsion technology," added Drake. "We are incorporating the latest advances in modern manufacturing, while capitalizing on our rich knowledge of rocket engines to produce a new, state-of-the-art engine that will end our reliance on a foreign supplier to launch our nation's national security assets."

The liquid oxygen/kerosene-fueled AR1 booster engine uses an advanced oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine cycle and will be available for commercial sale to any U.S. launch provider. AR1 will be the nation's first domestically produced oxidizer-rich staged combustion kerosene engine.

According to Drake, "This engine will be available for use on the Atlas V, Vulcan and other launch vehicles currently in development."

"ULA is fully committed to transitioning as quickly and affordably as possible to a domestic engine," said ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno. "Our supplier, Aerojet Rocketdyne, is moving us toward one of two viable options with the excellent progress on the AR1 engine development."

Because of each company's strong commitment to ending reliance of the Russian RD-180 engine on the Atlas V, Aerojet Rocketdyne and ULA have been investing in AR1 ahead of a public-private partnership agreement. The U.S. Air Force, The Aerospace Corporation, NASA and other government and industry experts have been kept apprised of progress on the AR1 since its inception. Most recently, Aerojet Rocketdyne held a major design review for the AR1 program with all stakeholders. The AR1 passed with flying colors, allowing the team to proceed with design implementation.

Drake confirms, "AR1 remains on track for a flight-qualified engine delivery in 2019, which will fly in 2020."

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 37101
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-08-2017 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aerojet Rocketdyne release
Successful Testing of Full-Scale Preburner Keeps AR1 Engine on Schedule for 2019

Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), recently conducted hot-fire tests to validate the design of the preburner for the AR1 rocket engine, which represents the nation's lowest-risk, lowest-cost-to-the-taxpayer and fastest path to replacing the Russian-built RD-180 engine currently used to launch most U.S. national security payloads into space.

"This important milestone keeps AR1 squarely on track for flight readiness in 2019," said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. "Our proven design process and demonstrated manufacturing approaches are key contributors to Aerojet Rocketdyne's unmatched record of mission success. When replacing the Russian-made engines on current launch vehicles, mission success has to be the country's number one priority."

The preburner, a critical component that drives the engine's turbomachinery, was built using state-of-the-art techniques, including 3-D printing which features Aerojet Rocketdyne's proprietary Mondaloy™ high-strength, burn resistant nickel-based super alloy. With the design now confirmed, Aerojet Rocket has cleared one of the major technological hurdles to fulfill the congressional mandate to end U.S. dependence on Russian engine technology for military launches.

"Due to the hot, oxygen-rich environment inside a staged combustion engine like the AR1, burn resistant materials are necessary to ensure safe operation of the engine under all conditions," said Julie Van Kleeck, vice president of Advanced Space and Launch Programs and Strategy. "Mondaloy 200™ alloy is the perfect material to use in the AR1, particularly when combined with 3-D printing, because it eliminates the need for exotic metal coatings currently used in the Russian-made RD-180 engine that the AR1 is designed to replace."

The AR1 engine development is using the same rigorous methodology the company has used for its previous successful engine development programs, such as the RS-68, J-2X, RL10, and RS-25. Prior to full engine testing, the company is testing critical components and systems to validate the flight designs, ensuring that they are each robust prior to completing the flight engine design.

Hundreds of component and subsystem tests along with manufacturing demonstrations have already occurred on the AR1 engine in advance of full engine testing. This approach minimizes changes once engine-level testing begins. The engine design team has now successfully completed a series of 22 component Critical Design Reviews leading up to an engine system Critical Design Review to support engine qualification and certification in 2019.

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