Press Release

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Awarded NASA Contract Extension

By SpaceRef Editor
April 10, 2008
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 10, 2008 – Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company, has been awarded a contract extension by NASA to continue development of the Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine (CECE). The CECE is advancing technology readiness to support future lunar lander development.

“Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is pleased that NASA has continued development of the CECE,” said Graham Webb, general manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Florida & Mississippi operations. “We look forward to competing to power the first lunar landing of the 21st Century.”

The CECE development contract, which was originally awarded in June 2005, extends through March 2009. During this next phase of the program, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will design, manufacture and test a new, enhanced injector to support stable combustion at very low thrust.

“In tests to date, the CECE has made significant progress to meet the mission,” said Victor Giuliano, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne CECE program manager. “Test highlights included the CECE demonstrating repeated throttling operability from 100 percent of its 13,800 pounds of thrust down to as low as 9.5 percent of full power. Additionally, the engine has demonstrated throttle acceleration and deceleration transient capabilities. The next phase of testing will focus on combustion stability at the lower thrust range.”

A throttling range from full power down to 10-25 percent is believed to be sufficient for human-rated spacecraft landing on the moon. Deep throttling, or a wide variation of thrust, enables a vehicle to maintain adequate thrust during in-space travel, yet have a controlled descent at its final destination. Fast-reaction throttling transients will be necessary to smoothly descend to the lunar surface.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines. Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

SpaceRef staff editor.