Press Release

February 2002 Space Launch Initiative Media Update: Stennis Space Center completes testing of Boeing Rocketdyne advanced catalyst bed for SLI

By SpaceRef Editor
February 26, 2002
Filed under , ,

Stennis Space Center completed the final phase of the Boeing Rocketdyne
advanced catalyst bed development program Jan. 16. Hydrogen peroxide is
being pursued as a storable upper-stage rocket propellant because it is a
less toxic alternative to currently used propellants. Approximately 14,000
pounds of hydrogen peroxide propellant was handled safely and expended in
support of this phase of testing.

The test program primarily featured 98 percent concentration hydrogen
peroxide, with additional tests performed at 72 percent at the request of
the U.S. Air Force. Testing for the project began Nov. 1, last year.

The material used in the catalyst bed reacts with hydrogen peroxide to
produce super heated steam and oxygen. The gas from the catalyst bed can be
used to drive a gas turbine, provide thrust as a monopropellant or provide
an oxidizer for bi-propellant engines.

A total of 269 tests in 29 days, with an accumulated duration of 29,650
seconds on five test articles, were successfully accomplished in this phase
of testing, including one catalyst bed that was tested to 10,285 seconds
with 98 percent hydrogen peroxide. This demonstrated double Rocketdyne’s
catalyst life goal for 98 percent hydrogen peroxide.

Data indicated overall performance was excellent. This testing will pave the
way for follow on testing of advanced turbopumps and hypergolic injectors
being developed for upper stage engines under NASA’s Space Launch

For more information, contact Paul Foerman of the Stennis Space Center Media
Relations Department at or (228) 688-3341.

ATK Thiokol’s SEHO to manufacture Space Launch Initiative composite tank

ATK Thiokol’s Science and Engineering Huntsville Operations (SEHO) is
manufacturing a subscale composite tank dome for NASA’s Space Launch
Initiative (SLI) for a second-generation reusable launch vehicle. The
subscale composite dome will be manufactured for Northrop Grumman under
contract to NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center’s National Center for
Advanced Manufacturing. The contract will aid Northrop Grumman in
demonstrating that the composite lay-up requirements for the program can be
met at a subscale level. Northrop Grumman was one of the contractors funded
under NASA’s first phase of the SLI development program. Successful
fabrication of the dome will lead to completion of an entire subscale tank
by this spring.

For more information, contact Beverly Poirier at Beverly.Poirier@THIOKOL.COM
or (435) 863.5722.

For additional news and information on the Space Launch Initiative, please
see these recent news releases and announcements:

02/07/02 – Wings for X-37 spaceplane shipped to Palmdale final assembly

01/28/02 – Boeing Rocketdyne chooses design for next-generation reusable
rocket engine

01/25/02 – NASA’s Space Launch Initiative seeks next round of proposals from
industry, academia in late March

01/24/02 – Andrews Space & Technology to support reusable launch vehicle
concept development

1/15/02 – Kistler K-1 Reusable Launch Vehicle available for flight
demonstration of Space Launch Initiative Technologies

Note to Editors/News Directors: Interviews and photos supporting the Space
Launch Initiative are available to news media representatives by contacting
June Malone of the Marshall Center Media Relations Department at (256)

For more information, visit the Space Launch Initiative on the Web at:


SpaceRef staff editor.