Inizio test J-2X

Inizieranno in questo mese i nuovi test al propulsore J-2 da cui discenderà il J-2X che equipaggerà i futuri vettori Ares.
In particolare in questa prima fase sarà testato solo il “powerpack”, ovvero gas generator e turbopompa del propulsore che equipaggiava il J-2 del Saturn V.
Lo scopo dell’utilizzo di queste parti, ormai con 40 anni alle spalle, è la raccolta di dati utili al successivo sviluppo del J-2X utilizzando molti più parametri e sensori di quelli disponibili negli anni '60. Integrando poi tutte le rilevazioni con i moderni sistemi di calcolo e simulazione.
Il test si svolgerà allo Stennis Space Center dove i componenti erano stati installati lo scorso settembre.
Il primo test consisterà nel far scorrere all’interno dei condotti, fino alla camera di combustione l’idrogeno liquido per monitorare e confrontare i parametri più importanti.
Successivamente invece ci saranno i test di accensione veri e propri, a partire da Febbraio, con tempi di accensione che varieranno dai 12 a 550 sec.

… e relativo comunicato stampa ufficiale.

Dec. 17, 2007

Beth Dickey/Stephanie Schierholz
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-2087/4997
beth.dickey-1@nasa.gov, stephanie.schierholz@nasa.gov

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
256-544-0034
kimberly.d.newton@nasa.gov

RELEASE: 07-281

NASA TO BEGIN TESTING OF ENGINE THAT WILL POWER ARES ROCKETS

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - In December, NASA will begin testing core
components of a rocket engine from the Apollo era. Data from the
tests will help NASA build the next generation engine that will power
the nation’s new Ares launch vehicles on voyages that will send
humans to the moon.

NASA will test the engine’s powerpack, a gas generator and turbopumps
that perform the rocket engine’s major pumping and combustion work.
These components originally delivered propellants to the Apollo-era
J-2 engine that fueled the second stage of the Saturn V rockets.

NASA is using these heritage parts to develop a new engine, known as
the J2-X, to power the upper stages of both the Ares I crew launch
vehicle and the Ares V cargo launch vehicle. Results from the tests
will help engineers modify the machinery to meet the higher
performance requirements of these two next-generation rockets.

“The J-2X engine will incorporate significant upgrades to meet higher
thrust and efficiency requirements for Ares,” said Mike Kynard,
manager of the upper stage engine in the Ares Projects Office at
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “That’s why
we’re taking a new look at these components – to gather performance
data, test their limits, and reduce risks down the road when we’re
building and testing the engine.”

The powerpack tests will be conducted at NASA’s Stennis Space Center
near Bay St. Louis, Miss., where the components were installed in
late September 2007.

“The final checkouts of the test article and facility are in work,”
said Gary Benton, test project manager of the Ares upper stage engine
at Stennis. “The test team at Stennis has put a lot of effort into
this project and looks forward to getting these first tests
completed.”

During the initial trials, engineers will run propellants through the
powerpack, monitoring its ducts, valves and lines while simulating
conditions as if it were attached to a rocket upper stage and main
combustion chamber. Engineers will be able to preview conditions that
might be present during an engine test fire.

The first test in the series will be a chill test, during which
engineers will verify the tightness of seals in the fuel lines and
pumps at propellant temperatures as low as minus 425 degrees
Fahrenheit. Engineers also will verify accuracy of the chill
procedure and determine the amount of time required to chill the
pumps.

Later tests in the series will progress to include test fires at a
variety of power levels and durations ranging from 12 seconds to 550
seconds. Testing is set to continue through February 2008.

The Ares rockets support NASA’s goal of providing safe, reliable,
affordable transportation to support sustainable, long-term
exploration. The Ares I is an in-line, two-stage rocket that will
transport the Orion crew vehicle to low Earth orbit. Orion will
accommodate as many as six astronauts on missions to the
International Space Station or as many as four crew members on lunar
missions. The Ares V, a heavy-lift launch vehicle, will enable NASA
to launch a variety of science and exploration payloads and key
components needed to go to the moon.

The J-2X is an evolved version of two historic predecessors: the J-2
engine that propelled the Saturn IB and Saturn V rockets, and the
J-2S, a simplified version of the J-2 that was developed and tested
in the early 1970s.

Marshall manages the J-2X upper stage engine for NASA’s Constellation
Program, based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Under a
contract awarded in July 2007, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne Inc., of
Canoga Park, Calif., will design, develop, test and evaluate the
engine.

For more information about Ares launch vehicles, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ares

For information about NASA’s Constellation Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/constellation

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

-end-

Se ho ben capito, vogliono effettuare delle prove utilizzando un motore risalente agli anni '60-'70?
Non è un poco rischioso utilizzare qualcosa che è fermo da cosi tanto tempo?

Penso venga ricondizionato,
o utilizzati i progetti per produrre una serie limitata di unità
su cui fare i test.

Presumo (ma ne son quasi sicuro) che siano parti nuove realizzate sui disegni di allora…

Ops… scusa jacopoch per il doppione che poteva essere un quote…