Press Release

Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V RD-180 Engine Successfully Completes Testing Program

By SpaceRef Editor
December 19, 2001
Filed under , ,

Now Qualified for All Atlas V Missions

Lockheed Martin announced
today that it has completed the test program of the RD-180 engine for the
company’s new Atlas V rockets.
Completion of these tests firmly establishes
that the RD-180’s design and performance will meet all Atlas V mission
requirements for commercial and government satellite customers.
The
RD-180 booster engine system is now fully test qualified for performance on
all configurations of Lockheed Martin’s Atlas III and V launch vehicles,
including the Atlas V Heavy Lift Vehicle (HLV).
The first Atlas V mission is
scheduled for liftoff May 2002, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.,
with a commercial communications satellite.

“We are extremely pleased about what this achievement means for the
success of our Atlas V program, for our commercial satellite customers and for
the U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.
This
engine test program is done and we’re ready to fly,” said G. Thomas Marsh,
president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems – Astronautics
Operations.
“The Atlas V team has done a tremendous job of partnering with
RD AMROSS and NPO Energomash to design and develop what I believe is the best
rocket propulsion system in the world for the Atlas V, and they did it on
schedule and within the scope of all Atlas V mission requirements.
This
international team has successfully completed a very extensive development and
test program on a new engine system in just five years, which is an amazing
feat.”

The RD-180 is the most tested family of expendable launch vehicle engines
in the world.
It also is the first variable-thrust main engine to power a
U.S. expendable launch vehicle.
The final test was completed successfully in
Khimky, Russia, Dec. 6, consisting of a total duration burn of 350 seconds at
the 100 percent and 47 percent power levels.
The test caps an extensive
five-year development and test period that began with the first test
Nov. 15, 1996, at NPO Energomash’s facilities in Khimky, Russia.
NPO Energomash designs and builds the RD-180 at its facilities in Russia for
RD AMROSS, a joint venture formed by Pratt & Whitney of West Palm Beach,
Florida, and NPO Energomash.

“The Atlas V RD-180 EELV team has done a fabulous job bringing both the
RD-180 and Atlas V on-line,” said Col Bob Saxer, U. S. Air Force EELV system
program director.
“The completion of the RD-180 development/test program
marks a major EELV program milestone.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the
results or the outstanding international partnership we’ve developed during
the past five years with Boris Katorgin and the NPO Energomash team.
Their
technical excellence and incredible commitment to meeting all our performance,
reliability and cost targets have been superb.
The United States Air Force
and the commercial satellite community will benefit for years to come from the
RD-180’s impressive performance and ability to smoothly throttle across the
entire power range.
We look forward with great anticipation to our first
EELV Atlas V/RD-180 launch in May 2002.”

Since the first test in 1996, the RD-180 program has averaged a
full-flight duration firing every 10 days, encompassing 135 total development
and certification tests in Khimky, comprised of 91 Atlas III-class tests,
30 Atlas V Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV)-class tests and 14 Atlas V HLV-class
tests.
All totaled, the RD-180 has racked up an impressive 25,449 seconds of
development and certification test firing, equivalent to 110 nominal Atlas V
missions.
Included in these tests were three separate certification test
series, resulting in the test qualification of a single RD-180 engine design
for both Atlas III and V.
Combined with system level tests conducted at
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., flight engine
acceptance tests, and actual Atlas III flight time, the RD-180’s total test
and flight operation time is now just under 29,000 seconds.

In addition, the program ran tests significantly outside the expected
run-box criteria, demonstrating the engine’s margins and robustness.
Above
and beyond the specific RD-180 engine testing, the team completed an
additional 20,000 seconds of subsystem turbo-pump tests earlier in the
program, as well as 100,000 seconds of test time accumulated on the
RD-170 engine program.
Seventy percent of the RD-170 parts are common to the
RD-180.

“What we have done is establish the fact that one engine design, the
RD-180, will meet all our Atlas V mission requirements, whatever the variant,”
said Patric Albert, director of Lockheed Martin’s RD-180 program.
“It’s a
simple yet elegant solution for a next-generation rocket system and there have
been very few surprises during this test program.
The NPO Energomash and
RD AMROSS team has successfully completed this test program through their
professionalism and propulsion expertise,” added Albert.
By year-end 2001,
13 RD-180 flight-ready engines will have been delivered to Lockheed Martin
Space Systems Company in Denver.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is
one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Space
Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of
advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers.
Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, ground systems,
remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government
customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet
ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a highly
diversified global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design,
development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems,
products and services.
The Corporation’s core businesses span space and
telecommunications, electronics, information and services, aeronautics, energy
and systems integration.
Lockheed Martin had 2000 sales surpassing
$25 billion.

For images and more information about Lockheed Martin Space Systems and
Atlas launch systems, please visit http://www.ast.lmco.com or Pratt & Whitney
at http://www.pratt-whitney.com/ for more information about the RD-180 engine
system.

SpaceRef staff editor.