Press Release

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Engines Use New Performance Monitors on Shuttle Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
June 9, 2007
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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Engines Use New Performance Monitors on Shuttle Launch

A trio of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME), fitted with new controllers to actively monitor engine health and performance, powered the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center today. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. [NYSE: UTX] company and has provided the SSME since the first shuttle mission in 1981.

All three SSMEs carried the new Advanced Health Management System (AHMS) controllers which monitor engine vibration and a historical set of key performance parameters. For this mission, two of the controllers were in a passive mode, but the controller on engine 2057 was active, meaning that it could have prompted actions in the engine systems if unacceptable vibration levels were detected during the eight and one-half minute firing of the engines during launch. The AHMS controller is another engine enhancement that will improve flight safety by offering near-instant and automatic response to potential problems in the event they occur.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s SSME is the world’s only re-usable rocket engine. Today’s successful launch added to a fleet total of 354 engine flights and more than 181,437 seconds of flight operation. Upon return of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the PWR Space Shuttle Main Engines will be removed from the orbiter and prepared for future missions.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, offers a complete line of propulsion products from launch vehicles to missile defense to advanced hypersonic propulsion. These have been used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the Space Shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, and high altitude defense systems.

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, Fortune 50 company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

SpaceRef staff editor.