Press Release

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Successfully Completes Assembly of Oxidizer Turbopump on NASA’s J-2X Rocket Engine

By SpaceRef Editor
December 8, 2010
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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully completed assembly of the oxidizer turbopump on NASA’s J-2X rocket engine, moving the next-generation, human-rated rocket engine one step closer to testing at Stennis Space Center, Miss., in 2011. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

“The oxidizer turbopump is one of the most complex components on any rocket engine,” said Jim Maser, president, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. “The assembly of the turbopump requires extreme care and precision, allowing it to distribute the highly chemically-reactive liquid propellant safely through the engine to meet unprecedented performance levels.”

The oxidizer turbopump delivers high pressure liquid oxygen to the engine’s main injector, pumping more than 80 percent of the propellant consumed by the engine. It is driven by a turbine that uses the products of the gas generator after it has driven the engine’s fuel turbopump.

The J-2X engine is designed to accommodate the varying needs of space exploration, and incorporates state-of-the-art improvements. It was developed with heavy-lift capabilities in mind, and could play an important role as a powerful upper-stage engine for future missions to low-Earth orbit, Mars or an asteroid. Not only will NASA’s J-2X use liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, but it has the capability of being a technology demonstrator, namely as a test-bed for a liquid oxygen-methane engine.

“We’re honored and excited to help NASA design, develop and test the first human-rated, upper-stage engine since the Apollo era, and we look forward to our upper-stage engine advancing space exploration and propelling astronauts once again to low-Earth orbit and beyond,” said John Vilja, J-2X program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne 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. For more information about Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, go to

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 commercial building industries.

SpaceRef staff editor.