aerospike engine


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aerospike engine

[‚e·rō¦spīk ′en·jən]
(aerospace engineering)
An advanced liquid-propellant rocket engine that uses an axisymmetric plug nozzle, in combination with a torus-shaped combustion chamber and a turbine exhaust system that injects the turbine drive gases into the nozzle base, to achieve a geometry that is only one-quarter the length of a conventional rocket engine, as well as automatic altitude compensation, resulting in superior low-altitude performance.
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The first hot-fire tests of the FRE-2 aerospike engine are expected to take place in early 2016.
Similar performance improvements would also result from utilizing the first-stage aerospike engine to attain LEO orbits.
Most recently, Rocketdyne developed the Linear Aerospike engine, which demonstrates key technologies and lower operating costs needed for the next generation of reusable launch vehicles.
To support the SLI initiative, Rocketdyne drew on the expertise of engineers fresh from two engine development efforts, the RS-68 for the Boeing Delta IV expendable launch system, and the Aerospike engine for NASA's X-33 advanced technology demonstrator.
The aerospike engine concept dates back to at least the 1960s, but while it has been the subject of analysis and ground tests there had never been an actual flight test - until the March 30 and 31 flights of two 10-foot-long solid-fueled rockets with aerospike nozzles.
for the final phase of testing to qualify the innovative Linear Aerospike engine that will power the experimental X-33 rocket plane being developed by a Lockheed Martin-led industry team and NASA.
Fourteen single-engine test firings of a development configuration of the unique aerospike engine were successfully completed at Stennis Space Center last year, followed by a series of dual-engine tests that was concluded late this spring.
The aerospike engine lacks the conventional bell-shaped exhaust nozzles of other rocket engines.
The aerospike engine design is distinguished by ``ramps'' that shape its thrust and the lack of conventional bell nozzles like those on the space shuttle.
We are amazed and delighted at how smoothly the test program has gone so far,'' said Mike McKeon, program manager for the XRS-2000 linear aerospike engine at Boeing Rocketdyne.
The aerospike engine is one of the key technologies for our X-33 vehicle,'' said Cleon Lacefield, X-33 program manager for Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.
Lockheed Martin officials say the one-tenth scale linear aerospike engine was troubled by liquid oxygen leaks, and they had derived enough information in two firings on the ground and five flights to test engine characteristics and gas flows.